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Do groups help or hinder paranormal research?


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Ophiel's picture
Ophiel
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What do people here think about paranormal research groups? Do they help or hinder the chances of scientific progress and understanding of the paranormal?

Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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Do groups help or hinder paranormal research?

Surely this depends upon the group of investigators and how they approach the subject. If they just keep repeating the same old Victorian parlour tricks that have failed to progess the field for the last 100 years or so then they probably won't advance the field any further or make any ground breaking discoveries. But do they hinder the subject? Not sure.

Some research groups are good and I'm sure they have a valuable part to play investigating cases, but surely groups are more effective when they are linked under a larger umbrella or association, where they can learn from each other and compile their findings.

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Ophiel
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Do groups help or hinder paranormal research?

I agree. One issue though is that many groups form because people hold the same beliefs in the first place. These beliefs may not actually be true - and all the group does is reinforce them. Is this a good thing?

I can see potential here for confusion to be propogated via the group mentality. In this sense the group may actually prevent an individuals development and the whole groups ability to carry-out objective scientific research.

Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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Do groups help or hinder paranormal research?

I cannot disagree with the above, but, the opposite could also be true. The beliefs or approach of the group could be true or appropriate to the field they are reseaching and as a group of like minded individuals they may make progress and flourish.

What I think we find in the paranormal ar groups of investigators who take a scientific approach and then groups of thrill seekers who like to think of themselves as investigators (and no I will not point fingers). I have lost count of the amount of people who have joined the group I am generally associated with only to leave when they realise how boring a vigil can be (and usually is) and they are not likely to see a ghost, no matter how much they want to or believe.

Mysteryshopper
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Do groups help or hinder paranormal research?

What's the alternative - investigating on your own? That's not advisable as you can't check if you are experiencing a hallucination - nobody to check with. There are also possible health and safety issues.

Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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Do groups help or hinder paranormal research?

Another thought about groups and investigators in general. None of us are regulated by an official body. You have an experience, possibly traumatic, call someone in and...well, it could be anyone with a notion to see a ghost, qualified or not.

Ophiel's picture
Ophiel
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Do groups help or hinder paranormal research?

There are many alternatives and I think you slightly misunderstand what I meant by group. When i said groups - I mean of the organised ghost-hunting variety (etc) - where most people already agree on what they are doing and why (theory-loaded approaches).

Now - I dont need a group to read a journal article, or indeed to write one. I dont need a group to read a book. I dont need a group to think critically and logically about information or even to devise an experiment.

I agree that in the field, one might need collaborators - by that in no way means you have to form a group, give yourself a name, website and orb collection.

One does not follow from the other - so there are aternatives.

Mysteryshopper
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Do groups help or hinder paranormal research?

I know what you mean Ophiel.

Paranormal group websites are a bit repetitive aren't they: pictures of graveyards, bizarre articles about EMF meters and how many kinds of ghost there are plus those priceless photos of the main members, taken in infra-red! I love reading the biogs. There is often a formula to them: 'I'm just a normal person, not trying to prove anything ....'

Of course, not ALL groups are like that ...

Ophiel's picture
Ophiel
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Do groups help or hinder paranormal research?

I totally agree with you. This now raises the interesting question of how a newbie - or anyone else for that matter could tell the difference?

I do not think that a group is necessarily a bad thing - but my experience is that more often than not, they are (yes there are exceptions).

B Straight
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This is probably a very

This is probably a very unpopular viewpoint, but the problem with a lot of groups is a lack of even basic scientific training. UFO research is a good analogy; too many untrained people in research groups report common astronomical or meteorological phenomena as UFOs. I give research groups top marks for enthusiasm, but without some form of scientific training, they are no more "researchers" than I (with a physics background) am a brain surgeon.

Brian

Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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Agreement

I have to agree with you there B Straight. There does seem to be the notion that anyone can get involved in research, which I totally agree with, regardless of experience or qualifications. But there has to be a certain level of reality. If you expect to come up with scientifically accepted results, then your approach must be scientific and you should have a sound hypothesis and a good experimental design. We can't expect everyone to be experts in every field but I would advise anyone wanting to get involved to hit the good books and do a lot of research before heading out into the field. Also, try to get some consultants in fields where your group is weeak, who are willing to help and discuss your results/findings.



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