Reassessing the "Impossible": A Critical Commentary on Reber and Alcock's "Why Parapsychological Claims Cannot Be True"

Bryan J Williams

Abstract


A critical commentary is offered on a skeptical rebuttal made by Arthur Reber and James Alcock in the July/August 2019 issue of Skeptical Inquirer, which came in response to an article by Etzel Cardeña (published in the mainstream journal American Psychologist in 2018) that reviewed the extensive evidence from parapsychological experiments which seems to collectively offer support for the existence of psychic (or psi) phenomena. At the heart of their rebuttal, Reber and Alcock seek to make the counterargument that this evidence cannot be meaningful because psi phenomena are "impossible," appearing to violate four fundamental principles of physics. It is shown here that rather than being based on any kind of substantial evidence, the criticisms that Reber and Alcock put forth in support of this counterargument are instead based on a combination of narrow personal opinion, unfounded assumption, and superficial rhetoric, leaving their claims unsound and ultimately unconvincing.

Keywords


parapsychology; psychic phenomena; psi; skepticism

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