This news article by Carey Goldberg in The Boston Globe offers a fairly typical media view on parapsychology: a researcher outside of the field of parapsychology conducts just one experiment designed to find ESP, in this case in the brain, and fails. In response the media pick up the story and imply that ESP does not exist, particularly because some clever brain scientists looked under the lid to check if it was there. I don't see such articles being written every time a parapsychologist reports significant evidence of ESP.
The other problem here that has not been mentioned is that, in all of the brain's complexity how did these researchers know where to look to actually find ESP? This must have taken a great visionary or precognitive insight in itself. It's hardly any great feat to not find something if you don't know what you're looking for - this news article makes the experiment sound like the neurological equivalent of the SETI project. I guess the real shame is that instead of modifying the research project, the researchers have given up the enquiry because of their negative findings and career worries, further forcing science to strain to manifest truth under the yoke of pessimism and the mighty dollar...
Brain scan tests fail to support validity of ESP
Research on parapsychology is largely taboo in academia, but two Harvard scientists recently set out to settle, once and for all, the age-old question: Is extrasensory perception, or ESP, real?
Their sophisticated experiment answers: No, at least, not as far as they can tell using high-tech brain scanners to detect neural evidence of it.
In this month's Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, a respected academic journal devoted largely to brain imaging, Harvard's Samuel T. Moulton and Stephen M. Kosslyn publish findings aimed to resolve the parapsychological debate that has simmered at least since the time of their Harvard predecessor, William James, more than a century ago.
The study was the first to use cutting-edge brain scanning called functional MRI to address the question of whether ESP powers exist, said Moulton, who has been interested in ESP research since he stumbled across some previous supporting scientific research that he found impressive.