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Daryl Bem and Psi in the Ganzfeld

Stuart Vyse’s (2017) article about Daryl Bem and p-hacking was disturbing. The most serious implication is that Daryl Bem, a famous and well-respected psychologist, has been guilty of “an unethical manipulation of data in search of statistical significance” to support claims of the paranormal. Such manipulation is especially serious in this field for three reasons.

1. If evidence for the paranormal were found, the implications for the rest of science would be profound.

2. There is very little evidence for the paranormal—and Bem’s claims are frequently cited as providing it.

3. Many people believe in the paranormal and look for evidence to back up their belief. If a researcher as respected as Bem claims there is reliable evidence, many people will be convinced, with serious consequences for the public understanding of science.

The most serious implication is that Daryl Bem, a famous and well-respected psychologist, has been guilty of “an unethical manipulation of data in search of statistical significance” to support claims of the paranormal.

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