Is Science Overlooking Paranormal Phenomena

“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” is a phrase popularized by the late great Carl Sagan (a great book, by the way, on the debunking of pseudoscience is “A Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Wind” by Sagan. Totally changed my way of thinking when I was younger). This obvious sounding phrase is perfect for science and skeptical thinkers and speaks directly to the topic of this article. I believe science, in general, does a great job of investigating legitimate claims and waiting for concrete evidence to surface in other areas. Scientific history is packed full of ideas and theories that were originally considered wacky, crazy or absurd only to eventually have them realized years later after much observation and work by scientists and others. When good evidence presents itself and change is required, science has no problem with improving an existing theory. This is a huge benefit science has over some other areas such as, say, religion, in which a change represents something usually causing disbelief in the religion itself. When it comes to paranormal phenomena requiring extraordinary evidence such as alien abductions, Bigfoot, ancient astronauts, existence of God, psychics and ghosts, would we really want it any other way? The world has enough people freely, and firmly, believing in unfounded paranormal claims. Just check out the popularity of astrology and horoscopes, psychics such as the crossing over guy, John Edwards, or the piles of people convinced they were abducted by aliens. Consider ghosts and the various shows growing larger and promoting “ghost hunting” using various forms of “scientific” tools and techniques. How is it possible to search for something, such as a ghost, that has never been proven to exist in the first place? How would anyone know the characteristics to look for? One could only search for what has been written about in science fiction books and movies over the years, and how reliable could those possibly be? Maybe some of these claims will turn out to be true one day, unlikely, but possible. But they will require solid, concrete evidence…of the extraordinary kind. Until then they must remain on the fringe, a pseudoscience.