Lately we've been hearing more from a corner of the New Age that was strangely quiet for a while: Parapsychology. This perennial favorite keeps returning to grab the public's imagination, so maybe it's time to try for a little perspective.
Let me admit from the start that I have a murky and conflicted relationship with the quaint concept of "psi." On the one hand, trained as a physical scientist, I find little to admire about a field that has almost nothing to show after two hundred years of strenuous and diligent effort. Every year, the claims that are made by proponents shrink as our horizons of measurement advance. A field that once purported to find treasures, cure illnesses, convey infinite energy and speak with the dead now craves marginal evidence for a few statistical anomalies in some randomized card tricks. That's pretty hard to respect.