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One of the first requisites of science is evidence. Such evidence goes to prove a thing is so or not so. The conclusion from this accumulative inductive process have amassed for society a huge bank of scientifically validated information. Such information is especially accurate in the fields of chemistry and physics.

Of late, factions of the scientific world are looking into the world of paranormal phenomena. Such studies can range from UFOs to psychic phenomena and reincarnation. However, it seems these groups have been more concerned with the denial of paranormal phenomena and the condemnation of adherents. This type of criticism can be highly unscientific; it should not be confused with the findings of scientific research. We must realize that even scientists can make unscientific conclusions.

In the light of such careless criticisms from otherwise reliable sources, it is appropriate to restate some basic principles of science. One is that we must produce evidence to prove a things is so; another, that we must produce evidence to prove a thing is not so. This latter principle is what some scientists are forgetting, for without evidence, how can anyone scientifically claim a thing is not so? Hence even scientists can fall into the Spensarian trap: "Condemnation prior to investigation."

Fortunately, more recently there have been some waves in the scientific world in investigation. Some groups have realized that scientific research would be helpful, among the psychic phenomena, to weed out the spurious from the valid. It is generally accepted that in the field of psychic phenomena, there are as many charlatans as, if not more than, there are genuine practitioners. But rather than resort to wholesale condemnation, some bodies are now seeking out the elements of truth. In this they are using scientific methods.

Paranormal research is not easy. In retrospect, science has made its name on fairly easily controlled physical phenomena as found in chemistry, physics and other patently physical areas. As we extend into the less obviously physical worlds of psychology, sociology, parapsychology and so on, the instruments of scientific measurements have less definitive output. We enter a world of investigation which too often involves mere proofs of possibility and percentages of probability.

   
  Questions
   
  1. (a) What has been gained by science through the conclusions drawn from introduction ?
    (b) In which areas of science is induction accurate ?
    (c) What subjects in the area of the paranormal, according to the passage, are being studied ?
    (d) What are the groups that are studying the phenomena mainly been involved in ?
       
  2. (a) In paragraph 2, what does the writer label as unscientific ?
    (b) What are the scientific principles brought out by the writer ?
       
  3. (a) Explain in your own words 'The Spensarian trap'
    (b) Which new sciences have encouraged the writer to think that the psychic science will now be properly investigated.
       
  4.   For each of the following words give one word or short phrase ( not more than seven words ) which has the same meaning as it has in the passage.
      i.   requisites   v.   weed out
      ii.   validated   vi.   spurious
      iii.   amassed   vii.   charlatans
      iv.   adherents   viii.   retrospect
       
  5. Briefly summarize, in about 160 words, the steps to take in order to benefit from self inquiry.
       
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  Answers
       
  1. (a) From the conclusions drawn from induction, science has accumulated a lot of facts.
    (b) Induction is accurate particularly in chemistry and physics.
    (c) The subjects on paranormal phenomena which are mentioned in the passage as being studied are UFOs, psychic phenomena and reincarnation.
    (d) The groups that are studying the phenomena are engaged in condemning them.
       
  2. (a) The writer states that the groups are simply denying the phenomena without giving any reasons.
    (b) The writer brings out two principles : We must provide proof that a thing is so and, we must provide proof that a thing is not so.
       
  3. (a) The Spensarian trap is a term used to explain a situation where people refuse to accept something without even looking into the possibility that it could be true.
    (b) Psychology, sociology and parapsychology are the new sciences that have encourage the writer to think that psychic phenomena will be properly investigated.
       
  4. i pre-conditions
    ii proved
    iii accumulated
    iv followers
    v eliminate
    vi inconsistent
    vii people who pretend to have knowledge
    viii looking back
       
  5. The strong point of scientific study is that it is based on proofs. For a long time science has concentrated on the material sciences, like physics and chemistry. Of late science has ventured psychic phenomena. However, what is disappointing is that scientists are bent on condemning the subject.

In scientific study, there are two rules : Nothing is to be accepted without proof and nothing is to be discarded without proof. Yet in the area of psychic phenomena, scientists are being unscientific. they are condemning it without proof. It is apparent that even scientists are condemning before investigating.

Of late, however, there has been some encouragement in that the scientific community is changing its attitude. Because of the advent of new sciences like psychology and sociology, fairer methods are being used in studying psychic phenomena. This is probably because unlike the more material sciences, these new sciences are so much dependent on possibility and probability rather than on observable facts. ( 159 words )

           
 
 
 
 
 

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