I have remarked previously here about how much of a dumpster fire Wikipedia is when it comes to topics at the fringes of science and history (ie. the topics we like discussing here). Due to both organised groups of, and ‘lone wolf’, skeptics, most pages on these topics communicate the skeptical point of view, without leaving barely a trace of the information or data that makes the topics interesting in the first place. As such, I’ve often recommended that people do *not* go to Wikipedia to find out more information on fringe topics.
But now, finally, a new resource has emerged that offers more comprehensive, balanced information – at least on topics related to ‘psi’ and afterlife research. The Psi Encyclopedia has been created by the well-respected Society for Psychical Research as an antidote to the biased information being presented on Wikipedia and elsewhere:
There is now a vast research literature that validates the existence of psi as an anomalous, fleeting and little understood aspect of human experience. Psi researchers believe that it has been demonstrated many times over, and in a variety of contexts. But this remains controversial, since psi appears to contradict long-accepted scientific principles. In particular, accumulating evidence of links between mental experience and biological brain functions lead many to believe that the brain is the sole source of consciousness. Some scientists are known to sympathize with psi experimentalists, who use well-established statistical methods and robust methodology: the possibility of psychic experience has been seriously considered by an impressive number of Nobel prize winners and other eniment people. However, a vocal minority of sceptics – often active in sceptic organisations – campaign in books, articles and in the media against psi research, disparaging it as ‘pseudoscience’ and disputing its conclusions.
In recent years this conflict has spread to the Internet, notably the free encyclopedia Wikipedia, where editors hostile to ‘fringe science’ routinely edit articles on psi research to make them conform to their view. As a result, articles that were originally written by knowledgeable experts have become adulterated with misleading claims and assertions.
The Psi Encyclopedia is being created by the Society for Psychical Research, funded by a bequest, to provide a more informative view of psi research (also referred to as ‘psychical research’ and ‘parapsychology’), one that reflects the findings of experimenters and investigators.
The writing project has been underway for a couple of years, but has only just now launched to the public with 110 entries written by around thirty authors and experts. (I was kindly asked to contribute a piece on James Randi’s ‘Million Dollar Challenge‘ (likely based on my previous essay on the topic here at the Grail.)
The SPR notes that readers “are asked to bear in mind that this is a work in progress, a multi-year project that will see numerous additions, changes and improvements” – so if you feel like something is missing, please be patient, and feel free to contact the SPR with your suggestion.
Link: The Psi Encyclopedia