In this interview recorded at the National Science Foundation for the National Capital Area Skeptic’s presentation of the Philip J. Klass award to him, Ray Hyman explores the intersection of skepticism, magic, and psychology throughout the course of his life. He talks about his experiences with spiritualist church services, including “question and answer” services purporting to demonstrate communication with the dead. He talks about his role as a skeptic of parapsychology even as he was a critic of the skeptical community, arguing that much of the earlier research in parapsychology was of a higher quality than skeptics believed. He explains why he thinks parapsychology is boring.
He talks about his survey of the Ganzfeld Experiments of extra sensory perception, and the controversies that resulted. He explains why focusing on the flaws of parapsychology research is the wrong approach, because it shifts the burden of proof away from replicability. He responds to the camp in parapsychology that argues science should change its rules to make it easier to find evidence of psi. And he explains why he thinks skeptics are abnormal, or “mutants.”
Also, in this week’s installment of the Honest Liar, Jamy Ian Swiss remembers when he and Ray Hyman joined a channeler on the radio.
National Capital Area Skeptics: