The boundary between realm of folklore and the realm of science is sometimes fuzzy. Section II contains some material that was included in the "Scientific Exploration" portion of the original edition of The Roots of Consciousness -- studies on auras, healing, out-of-body experience, UFOs, reincarnation, macro-psychokinesis. These areas have been investigated by individuals with scientific training who have attempted legitimate experimental undertakings. Fifteen years ago, I was optimistic that these areas would be rapidly embraced by the scientific community. Today, the major reason for optimism is the increasing willingness of both skeptics and proponents to admit their uncertainty.
The fact that Section II has been labelled "folklore" should not be taken to mean that all the studies cited there are devoid of scientific value. The folklore of consciousness is the very meat upon which the scientific endeavor feeds and sharpens its teeth. However, at this point in time it would be premature to say that the meat has been digested and assimilated.
I would not judge myself harshly had I chosen to label this entire book as a description of the "folklore of consciousness" -- since, after more than 100 years, psi research has yet to emerge as a mature scientific discipline. Some sociologists of science have come to view the debate over psi's existence as more of a social process than a scientific one.
Yet, from my perspective, the distinction between folklore and science is not entirely arbitrary. The primary guideline I have used emerges from the debate between psi researchers and their most conscientious critics. Over many decades, these two groups have faced off on the wrestling mat of scientific debate. Both have had to cry "uncle" a few times. Out of this debate has emerged a kind of neutral territory. On one hand, the psi researchers admit that they have yet to establish their theoretical claims. On the other hand, the skeptics admit that they are unable to explain away some of the data. This process of scrutiny and debate, over many decades, has enabled the scientific endeavor to isolate certain lines of research as deserving of serious attention. Therefore, I feel comfortable including it within the realm of science rather than that of folklore. However, before we examine the best data of psi research, let us briefly examine relevant background material in the field of psychology.
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