Technical Note: The Audience
on Friday, February 11, 2011
The content and style of this FAQ sparked a debate among the authors. At least six potential audiences were identified: physical scientists, social and behavioral scientists, hardened skeptics, New-Age enthusiasts, those interested in ghost and haunting investigations, and readers with little or no background in any of the conventional sciences or in parapsychology.
For physical scientists, we felt it was important to discuss methodology and terminology, and comment on some of the usual criticisms of parapsychology. For social and behavioral scientists, we added some implications of the observation that people throughout history and across all cultures have reported psychic experiences. For hardened skeptics, or people whose knowledge of parapsychology is based solely upon the skeptical literature, we felt it was important to address the fact that there is substantial, scientifically persuasive empirical data available. For people with New-Age or paranormal interests, enthusiasms, or assumptions, we felt that at least part of the purpose here would be to indicate the limits of what claims the scientific data actually justify. For other readers who may know little or nothing about the topic, or about science or scientific methods, we've applied a broad-brush approach to cover as much of the field as possible in a single document. Hyperlinks will be added in future editions to help flesh out this FAQ.