Parapsychology & Skeptical Inquiry

Instructor: P. Vecera
University of Utah

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TABLE OF CONTENTS


SYLLABUS

Schedule & Topics:

  • UNIT ONE
    1. What constitutes scientific evidence?
    2. Why be Skeptical?
    3. Video: James Randi on NOVA
      [reading: Chapters 1 & 2 in text]
  • UNIT TWO
    1. Reading minds and psi.
    2. Uri Geller and his entourage.
      {reading: text pp.219-231; Vaughan (1973); Psychic Interview (1973); Chapters 3 & 5 from Randi (1982)]
  • UNIT THREE
    1. More mind reading: some dirty details.
      [Reading: Chapters 3 & 4 from Nash (1978); Bem & Honorton (1994); Bem (1994)]
  • UNIT FOUR
    1. Prediction: Astrology, palmistry, tarot, Ouija, etc.
      [reading: Chapter 5 in text; Hyman (1977); Dean et al (1996)]
  • UNIT FIVE
    1. UFOs: What are they and where do they come from?
      [reading: Chapter 3 in text; Sheaffer (1996); Drake (1972); Chapter 7 in Von Danikan (1969)]
  • UNIT SIX
    1. Even more impressive: From crop circles to alien abductions.
    2. Video: Alien Autopsy
      [reading: Nickell (1995, 1996); HInes (1996); Emery (1995)]
      [optional reading: Newman & Baumeister (1996) and commentary]
  • UNIT SEVEN
    1. Hypnosis: Use in alien abduction cases and in therapy.
      [Reading: pp.288-303 Hilgard (1987); Klass (1981); Baker (1987, 1996); Frankel (1988)]
  • UNIT EIGHT
    1. Repressed memories: What can we remember?
      [reading: Loftus (1993); Freud (1935); Victor (1991); Bass & Davis (1992)]
  • UNIT NINE
    1. Alternative Medicine.
      [Reading: Chapter 7 in text; Barrett (1996); Chapter 7 in Frohock (1992)]
  • UNIT TEN
    1. Cryptozoology: from the Loch Ness monster to Bigfoot.
      [Reading: Dennett (1989, 1996); Bauer (1996); Chapter 5 in Bauer (1986)]

REQUIRED READING MATERIAL

Required Text:

Reading List:

  • Baker, R.A. (1996). Hypnosis. In G. Stein (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal. Amherst, NY: Prometheus.
  • Baker, R.A. (1987). The Aliens Among Us: Hypnotic Regression Revisited. Skeptical Inquirer. v.12.
  • Barrett, S. (1996). "Alternative" Health Practices and Quackery. In G. Stein (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal. Amherst, NY: Prometheus.
  • Bass, E., & Davis, L. (1992). The Courage to Heal. New York: HarperCollins.
  • Bauer, H.H. (1986). The Enigma of the Loch Ness. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.
  • Bauer, H.H. (1996). Cryptozoology. In G. Stein (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal. Amherst, NY: Prometheus.
  • Bem, D.J. (1994). Response to Hyman. Psychological Bulletin, 115, pp.25-27.
  • Bem, DJ, & Honorton, C. (1994). Does Psi Exist? Replicable Evidence for an Anomalous Process of Information Transfer. Psychological Bulletin, 115, pp.4-18.
  • Dean, G., Mather, A., & Kelly, I.W. (1996). Astrology. In G. Stein (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal. Amherst, NY: Prometheus.
  • Dennett, M.R. (1996). Bigfoot. In G. Stein (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal. Amherst, NY: Prometheus.
  • Dennett, M.R. (1989). Evidence for Bigfoot? An Investigation of the Mill Creek "sasquatch prints." Skeptical Inquirer, 13.
    [reprinted in CSICOP's The Outer Edge]
  • Drake, F.D. (1972). On the Abilities and Limitations of Witnesses of UFOs and Similar Phenomena. In C. Sagan & T. Page (eds.), UFOs: A Scientific Debate. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
  • Editors of Psychic Magazine (1973). Interview: Uri Geller. Psychic, 4, pp.6-11.
  • Emery, C.E. (1995). 'Alien Autopsy' Show-and-Tell: Long on Tell, Short on Show. Skeptical Inquirer, 19, pp.15-16.
  • Frankel, F.H. (1988). The Clinical Use of Hypnosis in Aiding Recall. In H.M. Pettinati (ed.), Hypnosis and Memory. New York: Guilford.
  • Freud, S. (1935). A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis. New York: Permabooks.
  • Frohock, F.M. (1992). Healing Powers. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Hilgard, E.R. (1987). Psychology in America: A Historical Survey. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
  • Hines, T. (1996). Cattle Mutilations. In G. Stein (ed.), The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal. Amherst, NY: Prometheus.
  • Hyman, R. (1994). Anomaly or Artifact? COmmones on Bem and Honorton. Psychological Bulletin, 115, pp.19-24.
  • Hyman, R. (1977). "Cold Reading": Howto Convince Strangers That You Know All About Them. The Zetetic, Spring/Summer, pp.18-37.
    [Reprinted in CSICOP (1996), The Outer Edge.]
  • Klass, P.J. (1981). Hypnosis and UFO Abductions. Skeptical Inquirer, Spring, pp.16-24.
    [Reprinted in Frazier (1986), Science Confronts the Paranormal.]
  • Loftus, E.F. (1993). The Reality of Repressed Memories. American Psychologist, 48, pp.518-537.
  • Nash, C.B. (1978). Science of Psi, ESP, and PK. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher.
  • Newman, L.S., & Baumeister, R.F. (1996). Toward and Explanation of the UFO Abduction Phenomenon: Hypnotic Elaboration, Extraterrestrial Sadomasochism, and Spurious Memories. Psychological Inquiry, 7, pp.99-126.
  • Nickell, J. (1995). 'Alien Autopsy' Hoax. Skeptical Inquirer, 19, pp.17-19.
  • Nickell, J. (1996). Crop Circles. In G. Stein (ed.), The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal. Amherst, NY: Prometheus.
  • Randi, J. (1982). The Truth About Uri Geller. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus.
  • Sheaffer, R. (1996). Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs). In G. Stein (ed.), TheEncyclopedia of the Paranormal. Amherst, NY: Prometheus.
  • Vaughan, A. (1973). The Phenomena of Uri Geller. Psychic, 4, pp.13-18.
  • Victor, J.S. (1991). Satanic Cult "Survivor" Stories. Skeptical Inquirer, 15, pp.275-280.
  • von Danikan, E. (1969). Chariots of the Gods? New York: Putnam.