Parapsychology, Science and Religion

Course Objectives:

Parapsychology is the psychological study of paranormal phenomena. Situated at the fringes of “official science”, it raises fascinating questions on the one hand about how orthodox and dogmatic science is or can be, and on the other hand about how persistent belief can be in the face of scientific evidence and argument. This positioning is ideal for shining a spotlight on the science and religion relation and questions of how to integrate these within psychology.

Charles Tart is likely the foremost leader of parapsychological research. His book The end of materialism will guide us conceptually and empirically in pursuing our questions. Also, the open source Journal of Scientific Exploration will supplement Tart’s text with the breadth and diversity of parapsychological studies. The “Society for Scientific Exploration” as representative of parapsychology will provide a type of case study for us to probe questions Tart raises. The student will also assist me in the compiling of a summary overview I am conducting of the research articles of the Journal as a whole based on the work of another class, both conceptually in terms of thinking the issues of parapsychology through as well as practically in terms of preparing the overview as a poster for presentation in a conference venue. 

Required Texts:

Tart, Charles T. (2009). The end of materialism: how evidence of the paranormal is bringing science and spirit together. Oakland, Calif.: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

The Journal of Scientific Exploration is open source, online, available at: 

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