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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

testing psychic claims It has been said that it would be very difficult to design a test for psychic claims. Not knowing very much about how proper scientific tests are designed, objectors have claimed that it would be impossible to come up with a test that would be satisfying to “both sides,” as if a scientific experiment should or could have two “sides.” A properly designed test has no preferred results, and no decision in advance——or bias——is allowed to influence the design or conduct of the test, nor the reporting of the results. These provisions must be written into any proper scientific test, in advance. The result obtained must be accepted and binding to “both sides.”
      If any claim is so vague, imprecise, and/or ambiguous that it cannot be examined rationally, then it cannot be tested and it probably cannot have the slightest importance to anyone except students of abnormal psychology. And it most probably has no merit whatsoever.

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Copyright (C) 1995-2007 James Randi.

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