Religious skepticism to the paranormal
Religious authorities have traditionally been opposed to any belief in paranormal phenomena, mostly because of their conviction that these beliefs might interfere with certain church dogmas, and also, quite legitimately, because ignorant people who “play with” the supernatural can get into enormous trouble by unintentionally conjuring up evil spirits. (Demonologist Ed Warren said that one in four of the demon cases he investigated were first raised by Ouija boards.)
Although mainstream religions all object to ordinary parishioners using paranormal methods to contact the spirits of dead people, there is surprisingly little interest among them to disprove the existence of common paranormal phenomena. The only instance that I am aware of involved a 1937 study by the Anglican Church in England. They set up a committee to investigate Spiritualist claims in relation to the Christian faith, but they then suppressed the mostly favorable report until 1979.
After 1953 many influential Anglican clergy gave up disparaging the belief in the claims of spiritualists, and founded the Fellowship for Psychical and Spiritual Studies.
The heart of all skeptical arguments against psi phenomena is the Humanist argument that no amount of evidence can ever prove the existence of paranormal events or psi facilities because they are simply impossible. This ad hoc argument is based on the arguments of classical physics which became obsolete at the dawn of the twentieth century. As we described above, classical physics assumes that the universe works like a gigantic clock, or billiard balls perpetually bouncing around on a universe-size table.
However the triumph of quantum mechanics in 1925 proved that there are no submicroscopic “billiard balls” to bang around. In order to get the billiard ball, you first have to have a conscious observer. Consciousness first, matter second! The laws of physics have been rewritten. Consciousness is a primordial quality of the universe. Matter doesn’t create consciousness. Consciousness creates matter! Secular Humanism is an outdated philosophy.
A number of physicists including Henry Margenau, David Bohm, and Olivier Costa de Beauregard, have repeatedly noted that nothing in quantum mechanics forbids psi phenomena. Costa de Beauregard, the physicist who suggested the Bell’s inequality tests (explained in my book, Science, Math and God) even maintains that the theory of quantum physics virtually demands that psi phenomena exist. Nobel laureate Brian Josephson, who pioneered superconductivity and quantum tunneling has stated that some of the most convincing evidence he has seen for the existence of psi phenomena comes not from the experiments of parapsychologists but rather from experiments in quantum physics. (Check out his home page at the University of Cambridge, Cavendish laboratory.)
Contrary to popular belief (and contrary to the statements of skeptical organizations), according to two surveys consisting of a total of over 1500 respondents, only 3 percent of natural scientists considered ESP to be an impossibility. The only large group of scientists that considered psi to be impossible were psychologists of whom 34% were disbelievers. This disbelief is the result of their unfamiliarity with modern physics and their refusal to look at scientific data proving the existence of psi.
For much more on this subject, as well as exposure to a great deal of modern parapsychological research, please read Science and Psychic Phenomena: The Fall of the House of Skeptics by Chris Carter (Inner Traditions/Bear & Company. Kindle Edition.)