The paranormal field and/or phenomena has yet to be defined or accepted as a legitimate “scientific” field of science. You will notice throughout this article I have made bold many words or phrases for you to note.
According to the New World Encyclopedia:
Paranormal, meaning "outside the norm," is an umbrella term used to describe a wide variety of reported anomalous phenomena that cannot be explained by current scientific knowledge. Parapsychologists use the term parapsychological phenomena or Psi to describe these phenomena. While research into these phenomena has become well established, due in great part to the pioneering work of J. B. Rhine, many continue to be skeptical and regard belief in the paranormal as based more on faith than science.
This is really disturbing to me considering that the many fields of “science” is made up of more theories, much like the paranormal field, than by law. Science is ideas, theories, hypotheses that have been implemented, studied, and experimented with in order to prove, or not, the validity of what started out as an idea or theory, and may eventually culminate into scietific laws.
Please follow along with me ….
Let’s start with what does scietific method mean -
Scientific Method: principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses
A Hypothesis, is an assumption or concession made for the sake of argument b: an interpretation of a practical situation or condition taken as the ground for action 2) a: tentative assumption made in order to draw out and test its logical or empirical consequences
Theory – 1: the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another 2: abstract thought: speculation 3: the general or abstract principles of a body of fact, a science, or an art 4a : a belief, policy, or procedure proposed or followed as the basis of action b : an ideal or hypothetical set of facts, principles, or circumstances —often used in the phrase in theory 5: a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena 6a : a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation b : an unproved assumption : conjecture c : a body of theorems presenting a concise systematic view of a subject
A theory attempts to explain why things happen.
Scietific Law addresses and accepts the fact that certain things happen a particular way, as well as how they happen
Fact: something that has actual existence. An actual occurrence. A piece of information presented as having objective reality
Okay, so now all the dictionary or encyclopedia references have been made, how does this all relate to this article on the field of the paranormal and its place in the scientific community?
According to Webster Dictionary the word paranormal means: not scientifically explainable. (yes, I’ve just slipped in one more dictionary references)
It seems to me that all scientific ideas, hypotheses, theories, as defined above, all start out as NOT scientifically explainable. This seems to me then to be a bit of an oxymoron. In examining and trying to understand why the paranormal field doesn’t have a home in the world of science confounds me. The process of science is to a hypothesis, experiment which using different theories as the bases for experimentation to find conclusive answers to the problem/question posed that is suspected to yield a result to prove it as fact or not, thus possibly turning into scientific law.
The bases of science itself takes what is “paranormal”, not explainable, by current scientific law and experiments multiple theories until conclusive results are achieved.
There are two references I like to use when discussing the validity of the paranormal field as a legitimate scientific field, and why the results thus far obtained by those in the field should be considered fact and placed in the scientific chamber. Dreams and Dark Matter cannot be proved as existing but the scientific community accepts both of these with open arms.
The existence of dreams can't be proven, but we, including all scientists, believe they exist, and not because of definitive, conclusive proof of scientific law. The standard of which these two are studied comes form nothing more than theory…theory that is believed fact. The occurrence of brain activity is no more proof of dreams, than what has already been documented as “proof” in any other field that deals with the testing of theories. The problem at hand with dreams is this: Brain activity in itself does not, and cannot, and never will, prove the existence of dreams. It only proves that that the activity seems to occur in association with or at or near times of when a person reports to have been dreaming. Yet, dreams are an excepted fact in their occurrence we all believe exist because we've all experienced it.
According to science, dark matter is the biggest building block in the universe. As a rule, scientists seek certainty. So it's rather unusual that for more than 70 years, many astronomers have wagered the universe is primarily made of dark matter, which was and is by some scientific sub-communities, considered a mysterious and unproven substance. However, fairly recently a team of scientists working with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has found direct evidence that dark matter is as real as the rings around Saturn. "Little is known about it; all that the numerous searches for dark matter particles have done is rule out various hypotheses, but there have never been any 'positive' results," said Markevitch. – NASA
So again I say that I am confounded as to why the paranormal field is still considered by most, including the encyclopedia (a collective body of work that contains information on all branches of knowledge), to be more of the spiritual realm based more on faith than science.