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Parapsychology and the Skeptics: A Scientific Argument for the Existence of ESP Paperback – August 1, 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: SterlingHouse Books (August 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585011088
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585011087
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,316,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The controversy surrounding psychic phenomena (psi) is both long and complicated. Chris Carter reviews the many elements of the controversy in great detail, but in a manner that is also readable and entertaining - a difficult feat. Carter adheres strictly to valid scientific and philosophical principles in arguing for the reality of psi and the legitimacy of parapsychology as a science, and he doesn't overstate his case. Any reader who can approach this controversial subject with an open mind will find Carter's book immensely rewarding." --John Palmer, Ph.D., Editor Journal of Parapsychology, co-author of Foundations of Parapsychology

"A masterly guide to the frontiers of science, belief and exploration. Carter leads us through the interplays of dogma, speculation and empirical research in a stimulating way. The controversy is intense because the implications for the scientific understanding of nature and of mind are so far reaching. If you want to know the current state of play, this is the book for you." --Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D., author of The Presence of the Past

"Chris Carter has put together quite a treatise. In thoroughly readable, engaging and clear prose, he provides an erudite and comprehensive review of the skeptical and scientific studies of events that don t fit present paradigms. Despite having researched the subject extensively myself, I found a deep well of new information. Carter's book, the first in a series of three, is both scholarly and entertaining; I eagerly await his next two works." --Robert S. Bobrow, M.D., Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine Stony Brook University, Author of The Witch in the Waiting Room

From the Back Cover


“Chris Carter is a one-man wrecking crew for the time-worn, tedious, petulant, and often flimsy complaints of the die-hard skeptics. A science of consciousness is doomed to be incomplete without taking Carter’s keen insights into account.”
--Larry Dossey, M.D., author of Healing Words and The Power of Premonitions

Reports of psychic abilities, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and psychokinesis, date back to the beginning of recorded human history in all cultures. Documented, reproducible evidence exists that these abilities are real, yet the mainstream scientific community has vehemently denied the existence of psi phenomena for centuries. The battle over the reality of psi has carried on in scientific academies, courtrooms, scholarly journals, newspapers, and radio stations and has included scandals, wild accusations, ruined reputations, as well as bizarre characters on both sides of the debate. If true evidence exists, why then is the study of psi phenomena--parapsychology--so controversial? And why has the controversy lasted for centuries?

Exploring the scandalous history of parapsychology and citing decades of research, Chris Carter shows that, contrary to mainstream belief, replicable evidence of psi phenomena exists. The controversy over parapsychology continues not because ESP and other abilities cannot be verified but because their existence challenges deeply held worldviews more strongly rooted in religious and philosophical beliefs than in hard science. Carter reveals how the doctrine of materialism--in which nothing matters but matter--has become an infallible article of faith for many scientists and philosophers, much like the convictions of religious fundamentalists. Consequently, the possibility of psychic abilities cannot be tolerated because their existence would refute materialism and contradict a deeply ingrained ideology. By outlining the origin of this passionate debate, Carter calls on all open-minded individuals to disregard the church of skepticism and reach their own conclusions by looking at the vast body of evidence.

CHRIS CARTER received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Oxford. The author of Science and the Near-Death Experience, Carter is originally from Canada and currently teaches internationally. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Chris Carter was educated at Oxford University in Economics and Philosophy. He is the author of three highly acclaimed books that explore controversial areas of science and philosophy, and currently teaches internationally.

Customer Reviews

The debunkers have been debunked!
Gordon H. Clark
It is hard to see how any open-minded reader could come away from this book with any confidence in the skeptical position.
Particularly helpful is the way Carter shows how skeptics misrepresent parapsychological research.
Don Salmon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 61 people found the following review helpful By dcleve on July 3, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Chris Carter, in Parapsychology and the Skeptics, treads the same ground that Damien Broderick did in Outside the Gates of Science. Both show convincingly that parapsychologic phenomena have been demonstrated, repeatedly and with statistical significance, using methodologies which have withstood the criticism of skeptics, over multiple decades. And that despite this convincing evidence, a skeptical community continues in a denial mode, contrary to reason and science. His goal is to demonstrate that the skeptics are ideologues, intent on defending a semi-religious worldview for irrational and non-scientific reasons.

The two use different clubs to make their points. Carter uses Gansfeld experiments, and Broderick uses remote viewing. But the approach and purpose of both books is nearly identical. Carter is the better writer of the two, and has produced the better book. Unlike Broderick, he makes his intent clear from the start, and provides more supporting evidence to bolster his argument.

Initially, carter takes the reader through the history of parapsychology, then discusses the experiments of J. B. Rhine, who moved the field into the laboratory. Rhine developed the methods still used today for statistical investigation of psi phenomenon. By 1940 ~1 million card guessing trials had been done using his card-guessing methods, with statistically significant results shown in 27 of the 33 published experiments.

Gansfeld experiments are a variation on the card-guessing process. Gansfeld uses photographs rather than cards, and puts the receiver in a sensory deprivation environment for 15-20 minutes while they free- associate, after which they pick which of four photos the sender was trying to "send".
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Richard G. Petty on September 10, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an extremely important book that examines a pervasive prejudice and pre-judgment that permeates science and many other fields of inquiry.

Healthy skepticism is an essential pre-requisite for good science, but as this delightful and well-reasoned book shows, parapsychology can bring out the worst kind of unhealthy - and unscientific - skepticism. It also highlights the way in which some scientists and popular science writers have used polemic rather than reasoned debate to promote their views. For example the opinion that all human ills can be reduced to genetics, or that there is but one interpretation of quantum mechanics. This is a trend that has been questioned by many scientists who have no connection with research in parapsychology.

Throughout my career I have seen how the mere mention of psychic phenomena such as telepathy would incite derision or apoplectic disgust amongst my professors, colleagues and many of my own students. Yet as this book shows, these reactions have more to do with personal and cultural attitudes and beliefs than they do with objective data.

After an excellent and thought-provoking foreword by Rupert Sheldrake, the book is broken into three parts and eighteen chapters:

1: Origins of the Debate
2: The Modern Critics
3: The Historical Evidence

Part I
Is there Conclusive Experimental Evidence for Psi?
4: The Early Years
5: Psychokinesis: mind over matter
6: Telepathy: silent communication
7: The Great Ganzfeld Debate
8: The Research of the Skeptics

Part II
Would the Existence of Psi Contradict Established Science?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dr. H. A. Jones on June 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
Science and Psychic Phenomena: The fall of the house of skeptics, by Chris Carter, Inner Traditions, Rochester, Vermont, 2007, 320 ff.

This book gives us a rational assessment of the cases for and against the existence of psychic phenomena, and the evidence presented by those who reject their existence. There are many books presenting the empirical evidence that events involving telepathy, clairvoyance, spiritual healing and visions of the afterlife really exist, and that these are not simply the results of fraud or delusion - see Tymn, van Lommel, Moody, Playfair, and many others. There are also those authors who seem to have an emotional predisposition to disbelieve and therefore either ignore, distort or misinterpret evidence to support their case that all psychic events are fantasy. Books by Victor Stenger and Daniel Dennett fall into this group.

Chris Carter was born in Canada but completed his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at the University of Oxford. He gives us here a rational assessment of the empirical evidence for continuing discarnate existence and its statistical interpretation, and especially a critique of those who dismiss such evidence. A little knowledge of the use of statistical probability (`p') values is an advantage. He examines the early attempts to study telepathy and psychokinesis and finds that the majority of those investigators, who included eminent scientists of the day, found the evidence persuasive. He critically examines the work of the well-known contemporary skeptics Susan Blackmore and Richard Wiseman, and finds it wanting in rigour or honesty. Indeed, little research has ever been carried out by those who disbelieve in psychic phenomena.
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