Defending Rhine

October 1, 2010

Joel McGinley’s broadside against the former Duke parapsychologist J.B. Rhine in the May-June [2010] issue is riddled with misstatements of fact.


Rhine’s statistics were validated by the president of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics in a published statement made in December 1937. The great majority of Rhine’s card-guessing tests did not incorporate trial-bytrial feedback of the target cards, so the participants had no information from previous trials that could help them succeed in subsequent trials. In the Rhine experiments on which the case for ESP was built, the scoring rate was so high that it could not be explained away by regression to the mean in any subsequent tests that might have been conducted with these participants.


In addition to Rhine’s work, there are numerous successful demonstrations of psychic phenomena (psi) published in peer reviewed journals that meet, and often exceed, the methodological standards of the mainstream sciences. To those interested in reading the case for psi, I recommend Dean Radin’s book The Conscious Universe.


McGinley should have looked more deeply into this matter with a dispassionate eye before publishing false and irresponsible allegations against another scientist.



John Palmer ’66
  |  Durham



Palmer is director of research at the Rhine Research Center.