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1. Being Scientifical: Amateur Research and Investigation Groups

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Published on Nov 11, 2010

Part 1 of a 2-part talk which took place at SkeptiCamp DC on October 3, 2010. Views expressed are those of the speaker and do not necessarily represent the views of the organizers of SkeptiCamp DC.

Presented by Sharron Hill

Do-it-yourself mystery investigation groups have proliferated in the
U.S. inspired by television shows such as Ghost Hunters. This
presentation provides the results of a study to determine the
popularity and purposes of these groups in 2010. From a sample size of
1000 groups, about half were found to deliberately use words and
symbols of science to characterize their activities, though members
are not scientists and have no formal training in research. While they
claim to be "scientific," these groups fail to meet the high standards
acceptable to the scientific community. They exhibit confusion and
misunderstanding about science and objectivity. By mimicking science,
amateur investigation groups appear serious and credible to the
public. It appears this is an effective way to sell the public the
idea that they can find legitimate evidence of the paranormal.

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