Although the preceding exchange in this special subsection of the Journal (Augustine, 2022a, 2022b; Braude et al., 2022) has highlighted the differences between skeptics and proponents of discarnate personal survival, there is much more in common between us that often goes unsaid, such as a common respect for sound reasoning and for investigating matters empirically whenever possible. We also agree that this topic warrants further empirical investigation, and of a quality superior to that found in the extant survival literature. While we could further delineate our similarities and differences, a much more fruitful avenue for research is to collaborate on a design for an ‘ideal’ prospective test of potential survival that, if successful and replicable, would complement and corroborate previous attempts at rigorous experimental survival research.
Working with Braude et al.’s (2022) team of survival proponents would have been optimal, but given time and logistical constraints, we have alternatively joined forces with the last author who has published several methodological papers in this domain from an agnostic perspective (e.g., Jamieson & Rock, 2014; Rock & Storm, 2015). By developing some of the proponents’ own published proposals, we have agreed on an experimental design that would provide substantiating evidence consistent with an anomalous effect by shielding any attainable replicable positive results, as much as feasible, from normal or conventional explanations. Such explanations run the gamut from simple cueing to researcher degrees of freedom or p-hacking, i.e., researchers inadvertently or deliberately collecting or selecting data or analyses until nonsignificant results are rendered statistically significant (Head et al., 2015).
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