Among people interested in the out-of-body experience, how does opinion vary in regards to whether scientists should investigate this phenomenon?
The Science of Self Club, a consciousness studies and development student organization at the University of Florida, conducted an online poll in 2003 asking this very question. At the time it was among the top-ranked websites for "out-of-body experience" in online directories and search engines like AOL Search and Yahoo!. As expected, the majority (378 or 81%) of the 463 respondents "strongly agreed" that scientists should investigate the OBE. Eleven percent (11%), or 51 individuals, merely "agreed," while 4% (19) reported they "don't care." Only 3% (15) disagreed with the premise: 2% (10) "strongly disagree" and 1% (5) "disagree."
The more opinionated left comments on the issue. Of the 30 posts,
"And maybe they should also learn to do it - so that they can understand a lot more about consciousness, about life and science, about us...!"
"It is only when science accepts that not every fact can be quantitatively measure, photographed, labeled and put in a jar, that we really begin to tear down the wall between spirit and science.'
"I have read several books claiming OBE experiences but although it would seem simple to set up a testable experiment, it hasn't been done verifiably. Why? I've read of guys traveling to the moon and planets, but observing a number in a locked adjacent room is apparently impossible!"
"The OBE and NDE phenomena have lingered in the relatively small niche of parapsychology for too long. They should be the study of a major research lab that does general experiments/research into Consciousness studies."
"Unfortunately, I believe that if scientists CAN prove it, the government will also study ways to control or stop it, or use it to their benefit."
"Proving something that can be used or not, like electricity, is the first step in the bigger journey of learning how to work with it."
"... It is more likely that these people have jumbled memories from previous encounters due to trauma to the brain itself. But people with "outer body" encounters have a great thing going - they claim something that absolutely no one can disprove. What a great way for people to get attention and sell books."
"... As humans are designed to continually explore and understand this world, then this area must be investigated by science sooner or later. It is inevitable."
In another poll, college students at the University of Florida in 2001, 1200 students were approached for a simple quiz: "Are you interested in lucid dreaming or the out-of-body experience?" Students were handed out a small flier with the question and a return email contact. Twelve percent (12%) of the students responded with interested and joined an email list for club in formation. Thirty-two (%) responded positively but did not join the email list. Another twelve percent (12%) did not give the interviewer a chance to speak. Five percent (5%) responded with either fear or warnings about Evil. The remaining population (39%) was either dismissive or apathetic with regard to the topic.