Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Ouija Boards

          Ouija boards have sparked many people’s interest for years, including mine. I’ve heard stories about Ouija board experiences on both sides of the fence: either something bad happened, or nothing happened at all. I admit that even I’m on the fence about whether, or not to believe in this paranormal phenomenon. According to our class book, Scientific Perspectives on Pseudoscience and the Paranormal, paranormal phenomenons sometimes overlap with pseudoscience, and I believe that Ouija boards may be one of those cases. For instance, there are no heavily backed scientific studies on Ouija boards. The reason is that we haven’t come up with a good way to test for paranormal entities. Most evidence for Ouija boards comes from testimonials, and personal experiences which points towards Ouija boards being a pseudoscience. It is very hard to challenge someone’s personal experience because it is very hard to replicate it scientifically. Therefore, we have no publicly verifiable knowledge along with problem that is not empirically solvable. Another clue that points to Ouija boards being a pseudo science is that the media places an emphasis on confirmation rather than refutation of paranormal experiences. If you were to research Ouija board testimonials on the internet, most of them would claim that an evil spirit was unleashed into the room; rarely is there contradicting information on popular news sites that refute these claims. Unlike pseudoscience, scientist seek out contradictory information in search of an alternative explanation. Scientist repeatedly challenge other scientists to test their research and point out flaws in their studies. This also helps to verify that the research is true, and correct. 
        Based on the elements of thought, our information on Ouija boards would be from personal experiences and testimonials. Because of “horrifying” testimonials, the common interpretation of a Ouija board is negative which leads most people to assume(another element of thought) that they will summon a demon. The implications and consequences of the Ouija board’s negative stigma will be a growing ignorance to paranormal activities among the population. People will not question strange experiences and simply point to a “spirit” as the cause. All of this has lead to a decreasing interest in scientific literature, and a belief in pop culture. 
      Overall, Ouija boards seem to be a product of pseudoscience. There are no scientific studies with publicly verifiable knowledge, and there is an over reliance on testimonials and personal experiences for evidence. All of this coupled with an emphasis on confirmation rather than refutation has lead to a rising belief in paranormal phenomenon, and a growing disinterest in science. 

Check out this site on Ouija board testimonials:

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