George R. Price

Science and the Supernatural

Believers in psychic phenomena -- such as telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and psychokinesis -- appear to have won a decisive victory and virtually silenced opposition. Many other times during the past century such victory has seemed close, as evidence for the supernatural has been produced that has been found convincing by some of the world's leading scientists. But always on previous occasions, other investigators have made criticisms or conducted new tests, thereby demonstrating flaws in the evidence. What is unique about the present is that, during the last fifteen years, scarcely a single scientific paper has appeared attacking the work of the parapsychologists.

This victory is the result of an impressive amount of careful experimentation and intelligent argumentation. The best of the card-guessing experiments of Rhine and Soal show enormous odds against chance occurrence, while possibility of sensory clues is often eliminated by placing cards and percipient in separate buildings far apart. Dozens of experimenters have obtained positive results in ESP experiments, and the mathematical procedures have been approved by leading statisticians. 1

I suspect that most scientists who have studied the work of Rhine (especially as it is presented in Extra-Sensory Perception After Sixty Years, 2 ) and Soal (described in Modern Experiments in Telepathy, 3) have found it necessary to accept their findings. Concerning the latter book, a

Reprinted from Science 122 ( 1955) No. 3165, pp. 359-367, by permission of the editor.


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