Saturday, February 10, 2007

Princeton ESP Lab to Close

The only parapsychology research center affiliated with a major U.S. university, The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research lab, is closing after 28 years of exploring ESP, telekinesis, and similar topics. Skeptics have consistently argued the lab produced no significant results, and some Princeton officials and faculty viewed it as an embarrassment. The lab's founder, Robert Jahn, has just as consistently insisted the lab had proven the existence of the phenomena involved. "If people don't believe us after all the results we've produced, then they never will," he said.
COMMENT: The sad thing about this subject, from a scientific point of view, is that it should not have been difficult for Jahn and his critics, like Martin Gardner, to agree on a set of controls for cheatproof, randomized trials with agreed-on standards for what results would have been considered significant. For some reason - perhaps the personalities or the absolutely fixed beliefs that clash on topics like this - it never happened. Now the skeptics will claim vindication and the believers will insist some results from the lab have never been explained, and that debate will linger for decades.


Dean Radin said...

There are two other parapsychology labs in the US associated with major universities: the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia, and the VERITAS Research Program at the University of Arizona. In the UK there are half a dozen psi labs associated with large universities.

Matt Bille said...

Mr. Radin is correct. My apologies for doing a too-brief search and missing both those programs.