2017 Vol. 81(2) 143-159

Editor:
Etzel Cardeña
Copyright: 
Parapsychology Press

Citation

Roe, C. A. (2017). PA Presidential Address 2017: Withering Skepticism. Journal of Parapsychology, 81(2), 143-159

Article

PA Presidential Address 2017: Withering Skepticism

Chris A. Roe

University of Northampton

In this address I consider the objections to parapsychology offered by high profile representatives of the skeptical community in their contributions to Krippner and Friedman’s (2010) book, Debating psychic experience, comparing them with previous critical commentary published in 1993 as part of a special issue of Scienza & Paranormale devoted to parapsychology. Many of the claims made in that earlier collection had already been challenged by Charles Honorton in his classic paper, “Rhetoric over substance: The impoverished state of skepticism”, and I revisit some of those arguments to gauge the extent to which skepticism has responded to them. I find that despite the passage of 25 years and the concomitant advances in the approaches, methods, and accumulated data of parapsychology, skepticism shows little evidence of progress and in fact may have regressed to more rudimentary rhetorical practices that rely on vague aspersions and show very little familiarity with actual activities and findings of contemporary parapsychology.

Keywords:

skepticism, rhetoric, replication. parapsychology