Ray Hyman

Ray Hyman

Ray Hyman Ph.D,

Ray Hyman is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon. He serves on the Executive Council of CSICOP and chairs its subcommittee on parapsychology.

Hyman has been a professional magician, and has published in conjuring magazines. In the U.S.A., at least, Hyman is regarded as the leading critic of academic parapsychology. His critique of the Ganzfeld work is probably the best known, although Honorton (1985) was able to produce a detailed rebuttal. They subsequently collaborated on a joint communique which recommended reporting and procedural guidelines for future Ganzfeld research.

Hyman pursues two critical agendas: as a scientific, technical critic and as a prosecutor arguing the case against the legitimacy of parapsychology. Hyman’s own involvement in research seems to have been minimal, giving him a distinct advantage in the rhetorical arena. In responding to research findings for which no conventional explanation can be offered, Hyman’s tactic has been to suggest that whilst psychic claims have been unfairly attacked, there is no reason for orthodox science to pay attention to claims for the paranormal.

Hyman’s perceived position as a responsible critic of parapsychology has placed him in a position of some influence. He was appointed to the NRC committee on enhancing human performance for the U.S. Army. He served as chair of the parapsychology subcommittee, which concluded that there was no scientific justification for the existence of parapsychological phenomena.

Dr. Hyman’s books include Water Witching USA (with Evon Vogt) (1979), and The Elusive Quarry: A Scientific Appraisal of Psychical Research (1989).

For a detailed exposition of Dr Hyman’s work, see George P. Hansen’s article The Elusive Agenda from which this summary is taken with the kind permission of the author.

Rouven Schäfer

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