Monday, September 14, 2009

Skeptic agrees that remote viewing is proven




Excerpt from a January 2008 item in the UK's The Daily Mail newspaper:

In 1995, the US Congress asked two independent scientists to assess whether the $20 million that the government had spent on psychic research had produced anything of value. And the conclusions proved to be somewhat unexpected.

Professor Jessica Utts, a statistician from the University of California, discovered that remote viewers were correct 34 per cent of the time, a figure way beyond what chance guessing would allow.

She says: "Using the standards applied to any other area of science, you have to conclude that certain psychic phenomena, such as remote viewing, have been well established.

"The results are not due to chance or flaws in the experiments."

Of course, this doesn't wash with sceptical scientists.

Professor Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, refuses to believe in remote viewing.

He says: "I agree that by the standards of any other area of science that remote viewing is proven, but begs the question: do we need higher standards of evidence when we study the paranormal? I think we do.

"If I said that there is a red car outside my house, you would probably believe me.

"But if I said that a UFO had just landed, you'd probably want a lot more evidence.

"Because remote viewing is such an outlandish claim that will revolutionise the world, we need overwhelming evidence before we draw any conclusions. Right now we don't have that evidence."

Thus, a prominent skeptic agrees that (1) the study of remote viewing is an area of science, which should thoroughly obviate the skeptical epithet of "pseudoscience" once and for all. And (2) that when judged against prevailing scientific standards for evaluating evidence, he agrees that remote viewing is proven. The follow-on argument that this phenomenon is so unusual that it requires more evidence refers not to evidence per se, or even to scientific methods or practice, but to assumptions about the fabric of reality.

I agree that remote viewing would be difficult to explain using 17th century ontology, which from today's perspective would be a naive, classical physics view of reality. But I suspect it will be explained through 21st century expansions of those assumptions.

103 comments:

Teresa said...

If the study of the "paranormal" needs "higher standards of evidence" than other sciences then I vote we relegate the term "paranormal" with its accompanying baggage to the apophenic dustbin.

It's time we get past it, get over it and move on. It's time we rethink the parameters of "normal."

Teresa Frisch

Sandy said...

So how far back do we move the goal posts in order to make the skeptics happy? Right off the playing field, most likely. That just isn't good science.

antiskeptic said...

It's quite distressing that we allow scientists to all just believe whatever they damn well want. I think that the system cannot work as advertised if some scientists are going to decide that they will not change their minds come Hell or high water. Really, the only way for the beliefs of the scientific community to change dramatically in a short period of time when the evidence calls for it is to require scientists to change their minds (or at least shut their damn mouths) when they can no longer explain the data in "normal" terms. Otherwise we have to wait for all of the hard-liners to die - a slow and tedious process of change. Dean, would you be in favor of regulating the scientific journals to require them to not publish any works by scientists who refuse to play by the rules? Would you be in favor of a rule that forces scientists to never publicly say that they disagree with the implications of a study once they have admitted that they can find no flaw in the design and the study has been replicated?

FB said...

So, nonlocal transfer of information reported in a remote viewing experiment by a parapsychologist would "revolutionize" science.

But nonlocal transfer of information in a physics lab, with "teleported" information signals in a laser beam, is just plain old physics... even though Brian Josephson would be happy to explain the connection.

It is best for parapsychologists to ignore the scoffers at this point. (If someone has the shout down the scoffers, leave it to Vinstonas Wu and SCEPCOP. The Ph.D.s shouldn't spend much time on rhetoric.) Remote viewing works well enough so that the issue now is how to train remote viewers efficiently. Just keep training remote viewers until 90% of the population has had the experience of remote viewing.

Gareth said...

The reasons why skeptics insist that paranormal claims be supported by "extraordinary evidence" are: (1) these claims really do subvert certain tenets of the current mainstream scientific position (if such a coherent entity really exists); (2) like it or not, there really are shades of archaic and primitive beliefs contained within these claims. Many people rightly believe that science has banished these ideas to folklore; (3) human history is liberally dotted with examples of charlatans claiming psychic powers to manipulate other people. (4) lots of wussy, touchy-feely new-age types have given the paranormal an icky reputation. Given this, the strong resistance of mainstream scientific and skeptical opinion against psi is quite easy to understand.

Fortunately, for those of us who refuse to believe that any human being holds the complete map of reality in their hands, the universe couldn't care less about our lame territorial disputes.

Mike said...

A false metaphor goes a long way in rhetoric and point-scoring in debates :-~

Wisemans analogy of UFO outside his house is poor ... in that case I would only have one eye-witness, subjective report to rely on ... this study is more like scenitists ploughing through lots of concrete experiements over the presence of a UFO at that spot over many many years and concluding that 34% of the time the UFO was actually outside his house!

Furthermore (like Deans presentiment studies) these are repeatable scientific studies ... they can be re-run (unlike one-offs such as UFOs/ghosts/yeti etc). In other words there may some types of "non-ordinary" phenomena where we need to be mroe scpetical but anything run as a scientific trial that can be repeated aint one.

[To paraphrase BC] Whats the protocol stupid? If its a scietnitifc protocol same standards ... if its one-off anecdote - sure I'd want a higher hurdle.

kindest & keep up the good work Dean ... the world's moving your way and what is really normal and what isnt is still a grey area in the middle so plenty to keep you busy :-)

Mike

Bharat said...

Applause for the winner of the Stating the Obvious award this year.

There seems to be a corollary of this "higher evidence for unexplained phenomena" claim: lower evidence for phenomena that certain people like a lot and won't give up on regardless of any rational argument.

Case in point: memes. No empirical evidence whatsoever. No theoretical requirement whatsoever. No *reason* to believe they exist, no one has ever experienced a meme nor seen one. What is the nature of these entities and - importantly - how do they interact with ordinary matter? Do I smell the pungent odour of Cartesian dualism?

And what of the demand for evidence, so precious to science? This surreal elision: "NO EXISTENCE PROOF IS REQUIRED...as long as you admit that imitation occurs, they must exist" (Blackmore, 'Can memes get off the leash?' in Aunger eds. 'Darwinizing Culture', Oxford 2001...emphases mine). In other words, memes = imitation. Then why not use the razor of old Occam and swipe it away and simply use 'imitation'.

But then there is a further problem: as Daniel Dennett (another meme enthusiast) admits, human minds are nothing like photocopying machines, ideas are very rarely left unchanged, except in autistics and only if the statements are literal as reported (with empirical, experimental evidence) by Atran 2006. And, surely, Einstein's relativity theory is far from random. It may be wrong but it *works* astonishingly well.

I can go on and on, but the point ought to be clear. If you raise the drawbridge up one end to exclude psychical research on frivolous grounds, you lower it for a great deal of nonsense simply because someone you like and agree with happens to like it.

Enfant Terrible said...

Mr. Radin,

I would like to talk about meta-analyses. Please, read this post:

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/08/why_im_leery_of_metaanalyses.php

You can download the full article "The interpretation of systematic reviews with meta-analyses: an objective or subjective process?" here:

http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1472-6947-8-19.pdf

The article was published in 2008.

My question is: don't you think that the article (and the post) give to us a very important reason to be highly skeptic about meta-analyses in ganzfeld?

nycjeff said...

'"I agree that by the standards of any other area of science that remote viewing is proven, but begs the question: do we need higher standards of evidence when we study the paranormal? I think we do.'

I don't understand why he gets away with using 'paranormal'.
We're just studying reality, which is just what science was designed for.

David Bailey said...

Whenever skeptics demand extraordinary evidence, they never say how much extra evidence would satisfy them!

Teresa said...

He just said we made the normal scientific goal posts. From his comment I'd say he wants to create new goal posts just for us and move them as far >>ahead<< as possible. Our scientific goal posts should be the same as everyone else's.

~Teresa

Psyconoclast said...

Richard Wiseman is one skeptic. You're saying that since one skeptic said ESP is a subject worthy of scientific study that it is, therefore, science. If one skeptic called astrology a science, or called evolution a pseudoscience, that doesn't make it so.

Even beyond that, Wiseman has long been a critic of the methodology of such studies, noting how easily confounds can slip in. It's a little disingenuous to suggest that Wiseman would buy into remote viewing if only he could get beyond his "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" mantra.

Dean Radin said...

> don't you think that the article (and the post) give to us a very important reason to be highly skeptic about meta-analyses in ganzfeld?

It's good practice to be highly skeptical about practically everything.

Meta-analysis is not perfect, but it's the best we have at present to judge whether independent repeatability has been achieved. It is heavily used throughout the medical, behavior and social sciences, and as in all areas of science, its methods are improving with time. As those methods improve, they will be applied to the psi literature.

Every meta-analysis of the ganzfeld database to date has shown significantly positive results, including one by Milton and Wiseman. When meta-analyses start to show consistency across multiple authors, including skeptics, there's good reason to believe that something interesting is indeed going on.

Dean Radin said...

> Richard Wiseman is one skeptic. You're saying that since one skeptic said ESP is a subject worthy of scientific study that it is, therefore, science...

This seems to imply that if a prominent, media-savvy skeptical spokesperson offers a concession that runs counter to what other skeptics take as dogma, then he (most of them are "he") suddenly loses his status as a skeptic. Hmm.

> It's a little disingenuous to suggest that Wiseman would buy into remote viewing if only he could get beyond his "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" mantra.

And yet, this is what the news article strongly implies.

Psyconoclast said...

>This seems to imply that if a prominent, media-savvy skeptical spokesperson offers a concession that runs counter to what other skeptics take as dogma, then he (most of them are "he") suddenly loses his status as a skeptic.

I don't see how you got that impression, as I called Wiseman a skeptic throughout my comment, he is still interviewed on skeptical programs, and is welcomed as a skeptic at any major skeptic event. His views on Ganzfield haven't cost him his position in the skeptic community, nor should it.

> And yet, this is what the news article strongly implies.

You should know as well as anyone that the media is good at telling stories, not representing nuances in ideas. As a controversial public figure in these debates, I'm sure your words have been used in media narratives to tell stories with which you don't necessarily agree. It's shameful when it happens to anyone.

Theophrastus said...

Bharat

I share your skepticism about memes, but just want to pick you up for your mention of autistics. Autism is widely misunderstood, the things you hear in the media about it are oversimplifications, and this is not surprising because it's a catch-all phrase for a lot of poorly understood symptoms. Sorry to berate you, I don't mean this in any way to sound aggressive. But it does bother me slightly because I have an autistic nephew and he is an individual human being, not a symptom or a robot. (The irony being our culture thinks of human beings as organic robots).

Sorry to bang on. Your point about memes is well made though. As a metaphor memes catch something of the way ideas seem semi-independent of us, but I can't see how it could work on a literal level.

Dean Radin said...

> It's shameful when it happens to anyone.

Yes, and unfortunately it's par for the course.

Within the "serious" media, there's an asymmetry in how this topic is reported, so even minor swings in a positive direction are starkly apparent, at least to my eye. Which is why I pointed it out.

Dave said...

I think I agree with something Dean said on Coast to Coast. No amount of evidence is going to bring parapsychology into the mainstream. What will be required is some sort of real-world technological application. If we could transform, for example, the ability to influence random number generators into a method for turning on lights or starting our cars, then we'd have something.

In that vein, I have a couple of questions for Dean or anyone who knows the literature. Is there any measure for how powerful the psi-effect is? How much "force" does it take to produce the influence seen on random number generators, or on the lasers in Dean's double-slit experiments? Does the effect increase if more than one meditator is attempting to influence the system? Does the effect increase if you are attempting to observe one or two photons at a time rather than a constant beam? or if you are attempting to influence a less complex system than a random number generator?

Basically, since the psi-effect is relatively weak (whatever its precise "force" is), is there any way to amplify its efficacy in a way that makes a real-world technological application feasible?

Bharat said...

Theophrastus: I deeply apologise for any offence I have caused with that post. It was a quick, rushed post but I still should have been as sensitive as I normally hope to be. The point was simply that there was an experiment done to test memes and the result coutered the predictions except in one case, what the author (Scott Atran, an anthropologist at Uni. of Michigan) referred to as "autistics". The page is here: http://www.edge.org/discourse/bb.html#atran2 and is about halfway down his post.

I am again so sorry for the offence caused, I did not mean to be flippant and offensive and I shall endeavour to be far more sensitive in future posts.

Best,
Bharat

FB said...

"It's quite distressing that we allow scientists to all just believe whatever they damn well want. I think that the system cannot work as advertised ... Otherwise we have to wait for all of the hard-liners to die - a slow and tedious process of change."

"Science progresses, funeral by funeral."

I think this is a very important issue. Scoffers should be allowed to believe whatever they like, just like Flat Earthers and Young Earth Creationists.

However, if Wiseman and the lot of them are going to be as obstinate as Flat Earthers, they should get the same academic attention as Flat Earthers.

Remote viewing has military applications. Militaries know this. If the USA military is not interested, I can find other governments that are. (RV labs require low budgets, compared to many other weapons systems.)

Wiseman doesn't typically criticize rifles, but if he did, governments would pay him no heed. Likewise with remote viewing. Let the scoffers scoff; let the governments continue to train remote viewers.

See, the nice thing about reality-based empiricism is that IT WORKS, and very often its applications yield practical advantages. Let the scoffers ignore reality, so long as there is some way to gain advantage based on the bit of reality that they ignore.

It's as though we were scholars of capitalism, and Wiseman were arguing that it was impossible to build customer loyalty through advertising. Fine! Let him preach that, so long as we can advise firms who will advertise and profit from it! Wiseman can yammer until he dies of ripe old age, so long as he doesn't pose a practical obstacle to remote viewing labs.

Wiseman might influence the USA and the UK. There are other countries. There are silver-futures investors who can profit from remote viewing. So long as somebody pays for the lab expenses, who *cares* which organization gets remote viewers? Governments hire mercenaries; remote viewing labs can be as flexible as mercenaries.

Let us suppose that Japan would be a hospitable venue. Very well! Japan can set up remote viewers to spy on North Korea! Or perhaps the high-rolling sheiks of Dubai want to know where the pirates of Somalia are hiding. So long as they pay cash, view for them too!

dawnow said...

Wiseman borders on being one of the pathological skeptics. To these people no amount of evidence is really sufficient. When experimenters present good evidence for the phenomenon they make the Sagan "extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence" gambit. Then when parapsychologists or others come up with better evidence, they just move the goalpost another few yards and use the same argument again, and so forth. Ultimately the position is, without a model within the existing paradigms of physics as they interpret them, no amount of evidence is sufficient. "I wouldn't believe it even if I experienced it and it apparently was the truth." Pathological skepticism.

Keith said...

So, nonlocal transfer of information reported in a remote viewing experiment by a parapsychologist would "revolutionize" science.

But nonlocal transfer of information in a physics lab, with "teleported" information signals in a laser beam, is just plain old physics


I'm no expert in quantum physics, but my understanding of quantum entanglement (where nonlocality is best understood) is that it does not violate relativity theory because although entangled states change superluminally, no information is transferred faster than light. Presumably, information is retrieved in remote viewing. That would seem to indicate that quantum entanglement has nothing to do with remote viewing, since remote viewing is said not to be limited by distance.

Also, there is a tendency for parapsychologists to appeal to quantum physics, but it is notable that only a handful of quantum physicists explicitly claim that their discipline has anything to do with paranormal phenomena. One would think that if the paranormal and the quantum were such natural bedfellows, there would be the least amount of resistance to psi phenomena among quantum physicists. But is this so?

When experimenters present good evidence for the phenomenon they make the Sagan "extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence" gambit. Then when parapsychologists or others come up with better evidence, they just move the goalpost another few yards and use the same argument again, and so forth. Ultimately the position is, without a model within the existing paradigms of physics as they interpret them, no amount of evidence is sufficient. "I wouldn't believe it even if I experienced it and it apparently was the truth." Pathological skepticism.

This seems to me a caricature. When skeptics say that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," the proper response is to ask them then and there what would constitute extraordinary evidence. Would replicable positive results in experiment X be such evidence? What about in experiment Y? Experiment Z? Only if skeptics will not concede any imaginable/feasible scenario that would provide such evidence when asked is the pseudoskeptic label justified, IMO.

Several medical studies conclude that there is a causative correlation between aspartame consumption and cancer. But many other studies find no correlation at all. So perhaps--and only perhaps--Wiseman meant that remote viewing was proven by the ordinary standards of science only in the same sense that "ordinary standards" might allow one to conclude a link between aspartame consumption and cancer. There is a sense in which some studies "prove" a connection "by the ordinary standards of medical science" but in which the issue is nevertheless still open, in that the issue is not settled decisively. The same might be said about, for example, excessive cell phone use and brain tumors. There is an apparent correlation there, but the question is: is it spurious?

Incidentally, I'm reminded by these medical examples that Dean said that psi effects were as strong as the effects of 81mg aspirin consumption decreasing the risks of cardiac arrest. Ironically, the most recent such study (that I've heard about) actually found no correlation at all. If doubts about the efficacy of low-dose aspirin consumption turn out to be legitimate, will that legitimize doubts about the existence of laboratory micro-psi?

Keith said...

P.S. The reason I suggest this interpretation of Wiseman's comments is his example: Evidence of a parked red car vs. evidence of a parked extraterrestrial spacecraft. Uncorroborated testimony is sufficient in the first case, but far from sufficient in the second case, because of the nature of the claim being made. If I said I had a time machine in my basement you'd want far more evidence for that then if I said I had a laptop in my basement. I don't think "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" need mean much more than that--and that on this sort of meaning the standard is a perfectly reasonable heuristic.

""If I said that there is a red car outside my house, you would probably believe me. "But if I said that a UFO had just landed, you'd probably want a lot more evidence.

antiskeptic said...

FB, thanks for actually replying to my post unlike everybody else here, so far. I have been consistently dismayed by the lack of interest in taking aggressive action against the skeptics on just about every esoteric message board on the internet besides SCEPCOP. (and I have some real reservations about that crew...) Most believers seem to think that ignoring skeptics will make them all go away and stop harming esoteric research. Maybe most believers deserve what they get from the skeptics as believers are mostly unwilling to do what it takes to beat back the skeptics. Anyway, to your post...

"Let the scoffers ignore reality, so long as there is some way to gain advantage based on the bit of reality that they ignore."

I'm going to agree with this statement. The only problem that I can see is that I can't see any way that the scientific community (or the society at large) currently allows us "to gain advantage based on the bit of reality that they ignore." I don't agree with the suggestion that finding a practical application will necessarily make the skeptics stand down. Look at homeopathy and accupuncture. Despite having practical applications the skeptics are still as fierce as ever. Even if I agreed with you, though, it would still be hard to convince skeptics of the reality of certain phenomena that are not practically useful. Psi may be one of them. I believe that the scientific community needs reform, and that there should be certain arguments that are simply off-limits. (like the dopey dirty test tube argument that I mentioned in my first post on this thread) We need some way, that we don't currently have, of punishing the skeptics when they make bad arguments. (or if you would prefer, "gain advantage based on the bit of reality that they ignore") I mentioned the possibility, in my first post, of blacklisting scientists who use some variant of the "dirty test tube" argument. I am open to other suggestions if anyone here is interested in talking about this subject.

Enfant Terrible said...

Mr. Radin, I knew recently about Stephan A Schwartz's work with Remote Viewing. It seems that he applied Remote Viewing to archaeological research with big success, and he replicate his findings.

"Schwartz has also published papers presented at scholarly meetings describing the discovery and the first modern mapping of the Eastern Harbor of Alexandria and the discovery of numerous shipwrecks as well as Mark Anthony's palace in Alexandria, the Ptolemaic Palace Complex of Cleopatra, and the remains of the Lighthouse of Pharos, as well as a buried building in the buried city of Marea in the Egyptian desert, a project undertaken to meet the demands of skeptics in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Alexandria. All of this Egyptian research was filmed as it occurred, and witnessed by representatives of the University of Alexandria, and the University of Warsaw. Of particular note Schwartz always has chooses search areas that have been previously searched electronically, or arranges for such surveys before the fieldwork based on remote viewing is undertaken, so that the results of the two techniques can be compared. In 1984, Schwartz reported on the reconstruction of an Amerind site along the Pecos River, including independent analysis as to the accuracy of the material by two archaeologists. Using these same techniques in 1987 he reported on the location of what may be remnants of one of Columbus' caravels from his fourth voyage, although there was not enough material to make a definitive judgment. In 1989 Schwartz reported on the discovery of an the American brig, Leander, which electronic survey had failed to locate. None of Schwartz' work has been refuted, perhaps because Schwartz has all predictions notarized and turned over for vaulting by otherwise uninvolved third parties, before actual fieldwork begins, the work is always witnessed by multiple and often skeptical observers, and much of it is recorded on film or video, as it happens."

Why you never mentions his work? It seems to me the biggest proof of psi that I heard in my life!Links for his papers:

01 - http://anti-matters.org/ojs/index.php?journal=am&page=article&op=view&path%5B%5D=140

02 - http://www.irva.org/papers/Beaks_Cay.pdf

1 Stephan A. Schwartz. A Preliminary Survey of the Eastern Harbor, Alexandria, Egypt,. 11th Annual Conference on Underwater Archaeology, 11 January 1980.

2 ------------------------ The Use of Intuitionally Derived Data in Archaeological Fieldwork, presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southwestern Anthropological Association/Association for Transpersonal Anthropology, 10 March 1980

3------------------------- The Location, Reconstruction, and Excavation of a Byzantine Structure in Marea, Egypt, presented at The Annual Meetings of the American Research Center in Egypt, 14 April 1980.

4 ------------------------ Randall J. De Mattei and Marilyn Schlitz. The Pecos Project: Reconstruction of Life in a Southwestern Indian Village Along the Lower Pecos River Through Remote Viewing, Circa 8th Century A.D.. American Anthropology Association Annual Meetings 1984.

5 --------------------------------- “Remote Viewing: An Applications-Oriented Perspective for Anthropology”. Invited Paper in Proceedings. A Summary of Data and Theories from Parapsychology Relevant to Psychological Anthropology. 84th Annual Meeting American Anthropology Association. 1985.

6 ------------------------- and Randall J. De Mattei. (In conjunction with Roger Smith, Institute for Nautical Archaeology) The Caravel Report. Proceedings of the Parapsychological Association. 1987. Also The Caravel Report. Conference on Underwater Archaeology/Society of Historic Archaeology Annual Meetings 1987.

Dean Radin said...

> Why you never mentions his work?

I have mentioned his latest book, and I've known and admired Stephan for many years. Do a search for "Schwartz" in this blog.

dawnow said...

"This seems to me a caricature. When skeptics say that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," the proper response is to ask them then and there what would constitute extraordinary evidence. Would replicable positive results in experiment X be such evidence? What about in experiment Y? Experiment Z?"

The point is that many such skeptics have made their position clear on the matter. An example is psychologist Donald Hebb (1951): "Rhine has offered enough evidence to have convinced us on almost any other issue... (but) personally I do not accept ESP for a moment, because it does not make sense. My external criteria, both of physics and of physiology, say that ESP is not a fact despite the behavioral evidence..." Similar remarks have been made by many other mainstream scientists, like George Price (1955): "Dozens of experimenters have obtained positive results in ESP experiments, and the mathematical procedures have been approved by leading statisticians." But later he rejects and refuses to accept this because he feels it is incompatible with "current scientific theory". These people generally don't present proposed experiments that would in fact convince them, since the claimed phenomena are impossible in their belief system.

"Only if skeptics will not concede any imaginable/feasible scenario that would provide such evidence when asked is the pseudoskeptic label justified, IMO."

As pointed out, many skeptics have stated essentially that no experiment whatsoever would convince them. "Any imaginable/feasible scenario"? Considering the strong bias, this allows any imagined actually completely impossible requirement.

"P.S. The reason I suggest this interpretation of Wiseman's comments is his example: Evidence of a parked red car vs. evidence of a parked extraterrestrial spacecraft. Uncorroborated testimony is sufficient in the first case, but far from sufficient in the second case, because of the nature of the claim being made. If I said I had a time machine in my basement you'd want far more evidence for that then if I said I had a laptop in my basement. I don't think "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" need mean much more than that--and that on this sort of meaning the standard is a perfectly reasonable heuristic."

This example is itself a caricature to try to make a point. As opposed to a claim about seeing a parked flying saucer made by one individual we have many replications of a phenomenon some by different investigators producing collectively overwhelmingly high probabilities against chance. Without having a response from Wiseman as to what he would actually find acceptable experimental evidence, we don't know how "pathological" his skepticism really is. With many, it clearly is.

FB said...

Dawnow: 'Without having a response from Wiseman as to what he would actually find acceptable experimental evidence, we don't know how "pathological" his skepticism really is.'

I think Wiseman's atrocious conduct has shown clearly that he is a pathological scoffer. Was it not Wisemen who bent himself in pretzels trying to sabotage Sheldrake and Demkina?

http://www.sheldrake.org/controversies/wiseman.html

http://www.skepticalinvestigations.org/Demkina/X-ray.htm

Antiskeptic: 'The only problem that I can see is that I can't see any way that the scientific community (or the society at large) currently allows us "to gain advantage based on the bit of reality that they ignore." I don't agree with the suggestion that finding a practical application will necessarily make the skeptics stand down. Look at homeopathy and accupuncture.'

I would mention McMoneagle's successes, but Enfant Terrible raised the case of Schwartz's successes.

Dean Radin: (referring Schwartz as a successful archaeologist) '> Why you never mentions his work?

I have mentioned his latest book, and I've known and admired Stephan for many years. Do a search for "Schwartz" in this blog.'

This is the short answer to the objection. People like Demkina are successful at diagnosis, without the approval of scoffers. People like Schwartz are successful at archaeology, without the approval of scoffers. For a deeper discussion, I move for a change of venue to the 'psicology' board at:

http://psicology-forum.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=psivssci&thread=122&page=1

FB said...

Keith: 'my understanding of quantum entanglement (where nonlocality is best understood) is that it does not violate relativity theory because although entangled states change superluminally, no information is transferred faster than light. Presumably, information is retrieved in remote viewing. That would seem to indicate that quantum entanglement has nothing to do with remote viewing, since remote viewing is said not to be limited by distance.'

My reading of Brian D. Josephson's work does not uphold your opinion, but I'll leave the theorizing to Josephson and the experiments to Radin.
http://www.tcm.phy.cam.ac.uk/~bdj10/papers/bell.html
http://www.tcm.phy.cam.ac.uk/~bdj10/psi.html

Keith: 'Also, there is a tendency for parapsychologists to appeal to quantum physics, but it is notable that only a handful of quantum physicists explicitly claim that their discipline has anything to do with paranormal phenomena. One would think that if the paranormal and the quantum were such natural bedfellows, there would be the least amount of resistance to psi phenomena among quantum physicists. But is this so?'

In a perfect world, without any conflicts of interest, scientists would not be endangering the jobs by expressing an interest in taboo topics such as cold fusion and psi.
But in this world, science is a business, universities are in it for the profit, and Brian Martin has a lot of conflicts of interest to publish about.
http://www.uow.edu.au/~bmartin/

David Bailey said...

FB: but I'll leave the theorizing to Josephson and the experiments to Radin.

You know, I rather wish Dean would do a bit more theorising - I mean after all those experiments, you must have some mental image of what is happening!

Christiaan said...

I am not sure of the specifics of the study, but I believe that the results would indicate that they were *interpreted as correct* 37% of the time. Unless the study involved specific questions such as "what is the colour of the object in the box" or "how many items are in this box", then there is very broad scope for interpretation. For instance, if the viewer stated they saw "a ball", and inside was a red beach ball, some might class this as 100% correct, whereas others may say 33% correct (they missed colour and type), whereas others still may class it as a total miss or a larger miss than 66% (they missed weight, size, or some other fact).

Jeff said...

Ironically, after doing research about scientific errors and hoaxes for a chapter in a book I just finished writing, I think that science in general may need to its raise its standards.

As for Professor Wiseman's cute little anecdote about a red car or a UFO, perhaps someone should ask him if science should be based on what is easier to believe, or what the data suggests.

In some ways modern science has gone full circle. In the middle ages, scientists were being branded as heretics. Nowadays, it seems that many in the scientific establishment want to stomp out anything religious or paranormal. I think you can get a good idea of what I mean by watching Ben Stein's documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. And that film was only about one specific topic within science. It seems that many in the scientific establishment would rather stick to their pre-conceived notions about reality. Anything that interferes with that...they either find a way to ignore the evidence, reinterpret the evidence, or demand that the situation requires more evidence.

dawnow said...

"I am not sure of the specifics of the study, but I believe that the results would indicate that they were *interpreted as correct* 37% of the time."

That must be the case. I would assume that Utts was referring to a large variety of experiments carried out by different investigators, and the experimental criteria differed. We have to assume that the resemblance criteria were reasonable from the standard of unbiased investigators. In other word, the sketches, etc. did not have to get every detail right, which would be a pathological skeptic requirement. A numerical assessment in the "correct" region would need to be based on a reasonable assessment of the probability of getting a basic shape and a couple of details right, considering the total number of potential possible shapes, colors and other details. For instance, say the sketch is of a rectangle and a circle. The list of all possible combinations of any two basic shapes would have to be in the hundreds or thousands. Say the target turns out to be a tennis court. The jury of evaluators would be justified in giving this trial a "successful" numerical evaluation, even if the sketch had a wrong color, or other details. Of course another factor would be how many of the possible targets on the list would present a similar basic set of shapes.

Bobby C said...

*sceptic alert*

Despite Wiseman's ill-advised phrasing, I can't currently see why this is being considered 'proven' science. Repetition of the effect is required, and if the effect is there, then it should show up consistently. As somebody earlier mentioned, perhaps people should be 'trained' to 'remotely view', which should serve only to push the hit-rate higher in future studies. For some reason I feel if I mention that it also lacks peer-review, I'll be castrated in future comments... (phew, managed to sneak it in anyway)

And I -- for whatever reason -- am also being drawn to the fact that "two independent scientists" were asked to analyse the data. Does anybody happen to know what the other concluded?

Dean Radin said...

> Repetition of the effect is required, and if the effect is there, then it should show up consistently.

It does, statistically speaking.

> For some reason I feel if I mention that it also lacks peer-review, I'll be castrated in future comments...

And rightly so. How about Nature and the Proceedings of the IEEE. Do those journals provide sufficient peer review?

> ... "two independent scientists" were asked to analyse the data. Does anybody happen to know what the other concluded?

The other was skeptic Ray Hyman, who wrote: "“The statistical departures from chance appear to be too large and consistent to attribute to statistical flukes of any sort…. I tend to agree with Professor Utts that real effects are occurring in these experiments. Something other than chance departures from the null hypothesis has occurred in these experiments.” He is not willing to conclude that that something is remote viewing.

Bobby C said...

> It does, statistically speaking.

Could you point me in the direction of subsequent repetition of these studies?

> And rightly so. How about Nature and the Proceedings of the IEEE. Do those journals provide sufficient peer review?

My castration would be just? Go on then: why? And yes, Nature certainly would count. I don't know anything about the other. Why?

> The other was skeptic Ray Hyman, who wrote: "“The statistical departures ... these experiments." He is not willing to conclude that that something is remote viewing.

Does he provide a rationale for this lack of conclusion? And out of interest, is the original experimental data available to the public, or has it only been presented to these two researchers?

Ken D. Webber said...

Remote viewing is complete and total shit. Why? Because it was NEVER about remote viewing at all. The real story is mind control. Early in the 50's the CIA and the military began experimenting with mind control using drugs, hypnosis, and voice-to-skull technology (the patents of which have mostly been classified and pulled from public view). The goal was to perfect mind control to such a degree that they could use it for transmission of secret information to such a degree that they could insert programming and data into another person's mind and then later retrieve that data. So they came up with the "cover story" of remote viewing. The remote viewers were guinea pigs. They were run through experiments as the BLIND. They would be programmed without their knowledge and later they would be debriefed. The purpose of the debriefing was to discover the percentage of success. For example, they would "load" up a person with specific data on say, russian subs complete with pictures, location, etc. They would then ask this person to "remote view" a particular target and tell us what they "saw." The person would then recount the "data" that was previously installed in their head, just like a computer, and that way the people experimenting with mind control were able to judge the effectiveness of their programs. Remote viewing is NONSENSE. A complete sham to hide the real agenda, which was mind control. Knowing this you can see that the skeptics, who have no knowledge of this information, have come to the wrong conclusion. Remote viewing doesn't work. Mind control on the other hand... works quite well.

Gareth said...

"How about Nature and the Proceedings of the IEEE. Do those journals provide sufficient peer review?"

I suspect the next question will be around the make up of the peer review group in this case.

If an answer to that is given, then a Google search will be done to try and find some scrap of information that will undermine the credentials of one or more of these people.

If that information is found, then the quality of the peer review process, in this instance, will be brought into question.

*Yawn*

Dean Radin said...

> Remote viewing doesn't work. Mind control on the other hand... works quite well.

The truth is that both work. Conspiracies about mind control are common, and partially based on reality, but that topic is chronically confused with remote viewing, which is just a fancy euphemism for clairvoyance, which has been around throughout history.

Dean Radin said...

> Could you point me in the direction of subsequent repetition of these studies? ...

And other, similar questions. My advice is to read my books. Then read a dozen other good books that are available on these topics. Read skeptical screeds. Read a few dozen journal articles on this topic. Attend conferences by researchers who present pertinent data, and by skeptics who are annoyed by ideas they don't like.

In other words, do some homework.

Bobby C said...

> And other, similar questions. My advice is to read my books. Then read a dozen other good books that are available on these topics. Read skeptical screeds. Read a few dozen journal articles on this topic. Attend conferences by researchers who present pertinent data, and by skeptics who are annoyed by ideas they don't like.

In other words, do some homework.


So that's a "no", then?

"Can you show me some material to read?"
"No, go and read some material."

You're doing a disservice to whatever good research might actually have been carried out.

Dean Radin said...

> So that's a "no", then?

Sigh. Ok, let me try a simpler approach.

First, read my books.

Then, read Stephan Schwartz's books.

Then, read Russell Targ's books.

Bobby C said...

For all your sarcasm and entirely unwarranted condescension, you've still failed to point me to the studies I asked for.

I have no doubt that they will be referenced in the books which you mention, but I presume that they are also available elsewhere.

If you don't "know", then just say so, but please let's not waste any more time with this?

Dean Radin said...

Bobby, I'm sorry if you interpreted my post as being condescending. It wasn't meant in that spirit.

My point is this: If you're interested in serious scholarship, and are willing to spend time reading books that go into more detail than you're ever going to find in individual papers, then please, find and read the books I've mentioned.

Or go here and look through a large list of relevant books:

http://astore.amazon.com/thealvazingin-20?_encoding=UTF8&node=23

I'm as much of a fan of instant gratification, and free and open sharing of scientific data, as anyone.

But I've also learned that if you really want to understand something, especially the nuances in controversial topics, there is no substitute for doing serious homework, which includes reading lots of book-length treatments.

Gareth said...

Bobby - I have both The Conscious Universe and Entangled Minds. In my opinion, The Conscious Universe really is the best place to start.

I picked that book up because, like you, I did not seriously believe that there was any real evidence for Psi. It is loaded with references to the kind of serious studies you're after.

Anyway, have a look and make up your own mind.

I would also recommend Irreducible Mind by Kelly et al if you've got the cash to spare. It's not focused on Psi per se, but provides serious, balanced coverage of a wide range of fringe phenomena.

On the more skeptical side, Psi Wars by Alcock et al is also well worth reading.

FB said...

Bobby C, your original post included the text: 'I can't currently see why this is being considered 'proven' science. Repetition of the effect is required, and if the effect is there, then it should show up consistently.'

Was your claim that remote viewing has never been repeated? There was a USA project called "Project Stargate" that repeatedly demonstrated military relevance. Ingo Swann's repeated demonstrations seem awfully consistent to me.

When you made your original comment, were you unaware of Ingo Swann, or were you considering Swann to lack consistent, repeated demonstrations?

Sandy said...

Bobby,

If someone asked me to justify my opinions about the work I do as a scientist - I’m a grad student working on a PhD in Earth Sciences - it would be difficult to do so without asking them to do some fairly extensive reading. Now, I’m not a parapsychologist, so most people don’t ask me for such justifications. Actually, no one has ever questioned my work the way Dean’s work gets questioned. Not even my thesis committee, and they have every right to ask tough questions plus they have the scientific credentials and background knowledge to know what to ask.

About a year and a half ago I started asking questions about some personal experiences that I was having that, to say the least, could be described as anomalous. I was fortunate to find people who were very good about recommending reading materials and resources to help me try and make sense of things. As a grad student I’m fortunate to have a library at hand so I do have access to journal articles and at least some books on parapsychology. But even if that were not the case, a lot of older books on parapsychology are available on the net for free. The point is you really do need to do some background reading in order to make an informed opinion on topics like remote viewing. Many of the people calling themselves skeptics haven’t done their homework. A skeptic in the true sense of the word should be familiar with the history of parapsychological research and be willing to look at the data.

I’m still reading up on parapsychology as much as I have time for, and I’ve barely scratched the surface of available material. That doesn’t surprise me since I’m also constantly reading up on new and old research in that other area of interest (Earth Sciences) that I just happen to be writing a dissertation on. Now I understand not everyone has the resources, interest or time to do this much reading, but if you are interested in a basic overview of past work in parapsychology, Dean’s books are a good place to start. You could even start with just a few youtube videos. These ones are pretty good:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tjvpk_x-YI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qw_O9Qiwqew
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnA8GUtXpXY

Bobby C said...

Thanks to everybody who's contributed for the advice and material. I'll certainly look at any free materials provided, and I'll try to get whatever book seems to come most highly recommended.

FB said: "Bobby C, your original post included the text: 'I can't currently see why this is being considered 'proven' science. Repetition of the effect is required, and if the effect is there, then it should show up consistently.'"

Well the 'proven science' came from the Wiseman quote, which as far as I understand, was said after having read one person's analysis of data which is unavailable to us. So I certainly don't think this justifies his statement that it is 'proven science', and I'm not really sure why he said that.

FB also said: "There was a USA project called "Project Stargate" that repeatedly demonstrated military relevance."

Isn't that what this entire thing, including this blog post, is about? Professor Utts was, along with Ray Hyman, evaluated the findings of Project Stargate. Utts claimed RV had been demonstrated, Hyman claimed that it was: 'at best a noble failure, and at worst, an age-old mind-reading trick'.

I'm in the process of reading Hyman's full report at the moment, and although I've found some material of Utts', I can't find her report. Anybody have a link, by any chance?

My other (current, and possibly incorrect) understanding of Stargate is that we don't have access to the data itself. Is this correct? Hyman's report certainly doesn't provide it.

And yes, I've heard of Ingo Swann and his relation to Stargate, but again I don't really know where best to look for his experimental data? But with regard to your last comment about Swann lacking 'consistent, repeated demonstrations': again, I haven't read about his experiments, but 'repetition' in science is only valuable when it is independent.

@Sandy: Thanks for the info! I appreciate that with any field there is a wealth of research and a huge amount of context involved. But I'm sure you'll agree, that until that context is understood, you wouldn't want me to draw any conclusions either way, which I haven't (yet) done. However the examples I have seen of remote viewing were definitely not conclusive, and definitely leaned me towards disbelief. As for sceptics not having done their homework: scepticism is simply about clearly understanding what conclusions you are in a position to draw, according to the information you currently have. I admit that many people who claim to be sceptical don't abide by this, but these people have simply mislabeled themselves.

And as a final spear-provoking comment... out of interest, have any remote-viewers ever gone for the JREF challenge?

Enfant Terrible said...

About Remote Viewing and Proceedings of the IEEE and Nature, were found many flaws in both journals.

In Proceedings of the IEEE:

See "Comments on 'A Perceptual Channel for Information Transfer Over Kilometer Distances: Historical Pespective and Recent Research', pages 1545 -1550.

In Nature:

The first series of remote viewing experiments by Russell Targ and Hal Puthoff produced a controversy in Nature as to whether references relating to the previous targets, occasionally present in protocols from sessions, could give cues to the judges and thereby explain the successes. Removal of these references by their colleague Charles Tart apparently made little or no difference to scoring level but Marks and Scott (1986) insisted there were still be some cues.

Marks, D.F, & Scott, C. (1986) Remote viewing exposed. Nature, 319, 444.

http://www.psy.gu.se/EJP/EJP%20ULT%20AP%20GB.pdf

Enfant Terrible said...

I realized that at least in the Proceedings of the IEEE, the authors replied all the criticisms, so, I think their experiments are no so flawed like I thought.

On the other hand, in Nature, we find in "Remote Viewing exposed":

Furthermore, the cues contained in the transcripts associated with Experiments 1 and 3 invalidate the inclusion of Experiments 1, 2 and 3 as the transcripts for all three of these experiments can be readily matched using the available cues. Experiment 5 is also invalidated because its transcript contains the uniquely diagnostic cue of the subject's location (an office) used only on this occasion. Hence only Experiments 6 and 8 remain potentially uncued in the rejudging exercise.

Considering the importance for the remote viewing hypothesis of adequate cue removal, Tart's failure to perform this basic task seems beyond comprehension. As previously concluded, remote viewing has not been demonstrated in the experiments conducted by Puthoff and Targ, only the repeated failure of the investigators to remove sensory cues.

Dean Radin said...

If you read the literature thoroughly, you'll find many other relevant reports. The bottom line is that remote viewing protocols, like experimental methods in any other discipline, have improved and evolved over time, and positive results maintain.

It is useful when thinking about the evidence for RV to keep two things in mind: First, the term is a relatively recent euphemism for clairvoyance. And there is a substantial experimental literature on that, as I have discussed in my books. Sorry to sound like I'm shamelessly self-promoting, but I wrote those books specifically to address these sorts of questions, and I don't have the time or inclination to repeat that material here.

Second, what does "show me the evidence" mean in this context? In most scientific disciplines, including this one, evidence is presented and archived in the form of articles in peer-reviewed journals. While reading those articles is a good place to learn about this field, because the topic is controversial those articles alone are not sufficient. It is also necessary to learn about the history, critiques, responses to critiques, etc. And that requires book-length reviews.

I often see someone complain that they've never seen any journal articles on these topics, so naturally they develop the impression that there's no evidence, or at least no peer-reviewed evidence, and thus skeptical dismissals are justified.

Having spent several decades examining this evidence in detail, and producing some in my own experiments, you can understand why I find such complaints exasperating. In fact with some effort plenty of good material is available, and not all of it is on the web.

Here is a website that lists books related to the background, methods, applications and science underlying RV: http://irva.org/books.html

As for supposed challenges made by magicians, I suggest you begin by reading this site:

http://www.skepticalinvestigations.org/exam/index.htm

Then listen to the podcasts at www.skeptiko.com to learn what a journalist discovered about better known "skeptics" after extensive interviews with both researchers and their critics.

Gareth said...

"Parapsychology and The Skeptics" by Chris Carter is also a good read if you're interested in the history of skepticism in Parapsychology.

Dean Radin said...

Another useful resource to learn why the "skeptic/proponent" debate is highly asymmetrical when it comes to controversial topics, and why science skepticism is not what it appears to be:

Skeptiko Host Alex Tsakiris looks back at over thirty episodes of Skeptiko and examines what he’s learned from his interviews with skeptics: Michael Shermer, Steven Novella, James Alcock and James Randi. Tsakiris explains how his opinion of the skeptical community has evolved: "…I started this journey expecting genuine debate, a battle of ideas, a war over the evidence, but that’s not what I found. I found a lot of frustrated researchers who were facing a well-organized, aggressive skeptical community that’s managed to change the rules of the game when if come to how certain kinds of controversial science research is done."

http://www.reason9.com/podcast/index.php?id=42

Teresa said...

Approximately 92,000 StarGate files (including sessions and experiments) are declassified and the Freedom of Information Act allows you access to them. If you go to my website or Daz Smith's you can read some of them.

If you want to examine several hundred remote viewing sessions there are links to several trainers and viewers on my site as well.

Teresa Frisch
http://www.aestheticimpact.com/

3inchThundr said...

Apparently Joe McMoneagle has used this to find something like 13 missing people to this point on some tv show in Japan.

I'd say that count as pretty extraordinary evidence. Here's a vid of one of them:

http://uk.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=FBI%E8%B6%85%E8%83%BD%E5%8A%9B%E6%8D%9C%E6%9F%BB%E5%AE%98

It's in Japanese unfortunately, but you can still tell what's going on.

FB said...

'My other (current, and possibly incorrect) understanding of Stargate is that we don't have access to the data itself. '

A great deal has been made available. I believe Teresa cited 92,000 files.

You don't need to read all 92,000 files, IMHO. Just acquaint yourself with the Siberian gantry, Jimmy Carter's spy camera, and other easily noticed 'hits' and you'll get an appreciation of the situation.

'" but 'repetition' in science is only valuable when it is independent."'

Well, up to a point. However, science exists in society, and anyone who can use unusual abilities to gain useful results is a social force to be reckoned with, even if science doesn't take an interest in the repetitions. In a more limited sense, independent confirmation is nice to have if the process depends on the approval of the academic community. But clairvoyance is irrepressible - it keeps cropping up despite repression - and gifted clairvoyants such as McMoneagle can train their successors without the help of academia. McMoneagle doesn't need money, either, since he gets paid handsomely for "dowsing" services.


''But I'm sure you'll agree, that until that context is understood, you wouldn't want me to draw any conclusions either way, which I haven't (yet) done.''

Well, when you throw around emotionally-loaded terms like "castration," many of your readers will sigh and say to themselves, "He's being dramatic, he *wants* to start a verbal altercation with maximum drama, he's already decided that he's going to disbelieve." I think Gareth was tactfully alluding to this apparent scoffing when he wrote: '
If that information is found, then the quality of the peer review process, in this instance, will be brought into question. *Yawn*'

So it's great that you haven't drawn conclusions, but you sure made it sound as though you had.

'' As for sceptics not having done their homework: scepticism is simply about clearly understanding what conclusions you are in a position to draw, according to the information you currently have.''

Quite so - and when I try to be sceptical, I usually preface my scepticism with something like the following: "Hello Doctor, sorry to interrupt your office hours, I see that you published a lot of articles on the Travelling Salesman Problem! I've never taken a course in that, but I have a Bachelor's in Math, so I think you won't have to cover too much basic stuff if I ask you a few questions about your paper..."

That is, I try to show people how much I know already and what tone they should take when they share the benefits of their experience. If I were to go to the same professor with the same paper and say, "This paper of yours makes no sense!" I might be a Fields Medal winner with a better idea, or I might be a high school student in remedial math with no capacity to understand algebra. The poor professor would have to try to keep his patience and politely ascertain my knowledge - i.e. my uninformative questions would cause absolutely avoided fuss and bother.

How much self-directed research did you do on this before you posted your first question on this blog? I would think that if you had even glanced at a Yahoo! web search page on "Project Stargate" you would have mentioned some more details.

''And as a final spear-provoking comment... out of interest, have any remote-viewers ever gone for the JREF challenge?"

I'll reply to that on my blog.

FB said...

Here's something that is obvious to me now, and should have been obvious to me several days ago.

People who are ignorant of philosophy of science and the facts of parapsychology are going to annoy me as long as they ask questions that demonstrate deep ignorance of the basics.

I shouldn't be replying to individuals, I should be collecting questions for two FAQs.

One should be a philosophy of science FAQ, to answer comments like "repetition is only scientific when the Skeptical Inquirer says so," and the other should be an Ingo Swann FAQ.

I hope someone other than Dr. Radin has the patience to write a Dean Radin FAQ, because Dr. Radin has more important things to do.

Then (if all goes well) the next time someone asks me something about Ingo Swann, I can just link to my Ingo Swann FAQ.

Sigh. I've been on the Internet for decades. I really should have done this in 1993.

Dean Radin said...

FB, thanks for reminding me about trolls (internet provocateurs). From now on, I'll reject any comment or question I receive that even hints of trolling.

Sandy said...

Dean,

You are just too nice! I learned about trolls from having to manage message boards for university courses. Now you would think that university students would want to impress the TAs and instructors by asking intelligent questions and making cogent points on the course material. But in many cases students absolutely delight in behaving like trolls to see how much they can get away with. They waste everyone’s time.

I like to give people the benefit of the doubt by trying to provide them with enough information so that they can come to some kind of informed understanding of the topic in question. But trolls don’t really want information. They especially don’t want to put in the effort required to make an informed opinion about the validity of a particular line of research. They just want people to jump through hoops in order to entertain them. For trolls it seems to be all about putting on a good show, and not about anything of substance. I feel the same way about JREF. JREF does not support good science. It is as simple as that.

If someone makes a paranormal claim that seems silly, it shouldn’t be all that difficult to perform an experiment, or series of experiments, to show that the claim is unfounded. If JREF were conducting experiments using good scientific methodologies and were publishing those results in peer reviewed journals, then I would be very impressed. But that is not what JREF spends it’s time doing.

JREF is about suppressing scientific research. They attempt to discredit and ridicule any scientist working on psi research who interprets his/her findings in ways that don’t agree with JREF’s fundamentalist dogma. JREF uses personal attacks to cast doubt on the work of highly educated, experienced and well-respected researchers. I’m talking about researchers who are using good scientific methodologies and having the results published in peer reviewed journals. JREF isn’t about doing the work required to add to the understanding of such material. They are the lazy troll who claim not to have read anything that convinces them to change their opinions, when they haven’t bothered to even open a book. JREF does a disservice to science.

There was a time that I would have sided with the so-called “skeptical” community. I associated parapsychology with fraudulent mediums and those silly people with the tin foil hats. But when you read about the real research that has been done over the years, you start to realize that there is something to the idea of psi that makes it worthy of study and consideration. Real scientists should encourage such investigations into how the world works.

FB said...

"From now on, I'll reject any comment or question I receive that even hints of trolling."

Thank you for that policy, Doctor, I'm sure it will save a lot of time and bandwidth.

Well, then, the sooner I finish the Ingo Swann FAQ, the sooner I can feed it to trolls. I encourage anyone who has a particular interest (e.g. Enfant Terrible is interested in Schwartz) to write a FAQ for use against ignorant questions.

Dean Radin said...

> ... for use against ignorant questions.

There are plenty of students who know nothing about this area and are sincerely curious. To them I always recommend reading a couple of books, most of which are freely available in the local community or school library. Or browsing a good online library, such as the one at the Parapsychology Foundation.

Unfortunately, in the internet age we get used to having instant access to information 24/7, so rather than reading books many students jump to Wikipedia or online forums. This is one of the unexpected and tragic consequences of instant information. Instant access is great, but only if there's a way to judge the quality of the information. Bad information is probably worse than no information at all.

anonymous said...

"Unfortunately, in the internet age we get used to having instant access to information 24/7, so rather than reading books many students jump to Wikipedia or online forums."



Or worse, they set out to confirm their anti-psi bias and go to sites about orbs, ghost hunting, evp, etc. and come away reassured that no serious investigations have been done.

But it's true that people expect instant gratification on the internet. That's why I tried to provide links to reliable on-line sources of information on my web page that discusses the Evidence for the Afterlife.



There is a lot of good quality information on-line and you don't have to go to the book store, or library, or wait for amazon to ship a book. However a lot of people don't even know where to begin to search for information on-line so sites with links to the reliable on-line sources are needed.

anonymous said...

"I shouldn't be replying to individuals, I should be collecting questions for two FAQs.
"



It's okay to reply if you think other more serious readers will be interesteed in the answer. There are usually many more readers than posters.

But you are right about compiling answers and putting them on line. That is how I developed my web page on Skeptical Fallacies.

Bobby C said...

It was not my intention to troll this blog, and I apologise if my tone was interpreted as such.

Again, thanks to various people for the materials provided. I've so far watched one of DR's lectures and it was very well-presented, and provided references to further information which I can look-up.

But could I quickly ask Sandy what she means by her comments toward the JREF? I've only encountered such a view of the JREF once or twice, and I'm none the wiser as to what experiences/stories lead these conclusions. Any materials would be appreciated!

MickyD said...

Dean,

Slightly off-topic, but I just wanted to know your thoughts on the AWARE study (AWAreness during REsuscitation) that is currently being conducted across 30 hospitals and 2 continents investigating the idea of mind separation during the OBE part of an NDE. Would negative findings from this study cast doubt on the whole idea of mind-brain duality and therefore the data from psi research? The research on the Human consciousness Project looks really exhaustive, with blood oxygen monitors to check whether those experients who report OBE phenomena realy do have oxygen levels less than is required for brain activitiy, 15%, as proponents claim, or above, thus supporting the skeptical argument that these experiences are artificial constructs of the brain. Either way the data in 2013 will be extremely important. Just wondered what your thoughts were.

Sandy said...

Bobby,

I don't have a lot of time, but I thought I could at least give you some place to start. I would recommend Chris Carter’s book “Parapsychology and the Skeptics” as a good read on this subject. Two of the links below are for interviews with Carter. If you go to sites like Michael Prescott's Blog or Daily Grail and search for JREF, you should find more stuff, I just gave you a few links that were handy. And of course, you should check out Randi's site as well. I did, although I didn't find anything of value there. But it isn't really fair to critique someone if you aren't even willing to look at his material.

http://www.reason9.com/podcast/index.php?id=50

http://www.reason9.com/podcast/index.php?id=52

http://www.mindpowernews.com/MillionDollarMyth.htm

http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2005/11/skeptical_silli.html

http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2006/12/the_challenge.html

http://dailygrail.com/features/the-myth-of-james-randis-million-dollar-challenge

http://dailygrail.com/news/randis-sleight-of-hand

Keith said...

Note: This is an honest question and not baiting. Perhaps this isn't the best place to raise it; you be the judge. But it has been on my mind for some time.

When a UFOlogist claims something that is not accepted by the rest of scientific community, others take that as a sufficient reason, pending evidence that does convince the scientific community, not to accept that claim. UFOlogists can retort that mainstream scientists are unfamiliar with or suppressing their decisive findings, but that is not usually taken to be sufficient reason to accept the claim in question.

When a cryptozoologist claims something that is not accepted by the rest of scientific community, others take that as a sufficient reason, pending evidence that does convince the scientific community, not to accept that claim. Cryptozoologists can retort that mainstream scientists are unfamiliar with or suppressing their decisive findings, but that is not usually taken to be sufficient reason to accept the claim in question.

How is parapsychology in a better position than UFOlogy or cryptozoology in these respects?

Note well: I realize that psi is amenable to direct experimental study in a way that UFOs or unknown species are not. But at best, experimental results might point to the existence of a weak kind of "micro-psi" and nothing more than that. The sort of psi that most people believe in from anecdotal accounts is much more "tangible" than statistical effects of thousands of trials.

So my question concerns claims of "macro-psi" which are anecdotal in much the same way as the claims of UFOlogists or cryptozoologists. Let me give a specific example.

There are claims of veridical perception during near-death experiences, but no well-controlled experimental confirmation for these claims (as of yet). Similarly, there are claims of alien abductions and the retrieval of inexplicable implants, such as this, but presumably no decisive evidence:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUki-07sp2E

Why are tales of veridical NDEs more credible than tales of alien abductions? In this case, there is even a purported artifact left behind--an "implant"--that can be tested (and has been tested, yielding unusual findings), and yet that the events recounted by the abductee really occurred as told is something that I am rightfully skeptical about (especially since interstellar breeding would be more problematic than interspecies breeding). Sometimes there are areas of dead grass at purported landing sites, and inexplicable scars attributed to "skin samples" taken by ETs. These are "evidence" for the ET hypothesis--but the central question is whether attributions to ET activity are legitimate or not.

Similar questions could be asked about purported paranormal activity. Is it inappropriate to raise such questions there? If so, why?

Note also that, although hypnosis provides most of the details of the abductee's account, he claims to consciously remember seeing a spacecraft and the occupant paralyzing him prior to what is revealed in hypnosis. This is also true for the first ("collective"?) alien abduction experience by Betty and Barney Hill, which produced a star map later matched to an actual star system--again, evidence of "veridicality," or just a chance result given the number of stars in the visible universe?

Dean Radin said...

> But at best, experimental results might point to the existence of a weak kind of "micro-psi" and nothing more than that.

And that's the key. In the case of other anomalies, the debate is sustained because science demands empirical evidence reproducible on demand, or in-your-face evidence that is undeniable. For UFOs and cryptozoology this has been difficult to produce.

But in the case of psi, if there is any repeatable evidence on demand, which there is, then the nature of the debate is entirely different.

As many have written, new ideas go through predictable stages. Stage 1 is it's impossible. Stage 2 is it's real but so weak who cares. Stage 3 is I knew it all along.

I would argue that psi is firmly in Stage 2 for those who carefully look at the data. The other fields are not, even though there is intriguing evidence.

Why psi effects in the lab are weak seems clear enough: The lab simulates real-world effects, and in ways that maintains everyone's safety. Big psi effects often involve life or death episodes, or strong emotions, and those things are difficult to study on demand (although the multi-center NDE study underway is going on the right direction).

Keith said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Keith said...

Thanks for taking the time to offer your response, Dean. I was addressing future commenters and didn't particularly expect you to pine in. But I'm glad you did since I take your response to be more authoritative than most.

I think the problem is that I'm not sure what to make of "micro-psi" claims. Like most people, I'm not a statistician, so I'm not in a position to make heads or tales about what you say, what Jessica Utts says, what Ray Hyman says, or what Richard Wiseman says. I see lack of consensus, and lacking statistical expertise, I am in no position to evaluate the data directly. So in that sense laboratory psi is going to be just like those other things I mentioned--something not yet accepted by the rest of scientific community and thus something it would be premature to endorse.

What I could understand is what you say is "going on the right direction"--straightforward target identification. Is this never possible in experimental ESP trials? Can PK adepts never move a feather behind sealed glass a couple inches to the left while a videorecording is being made? It seems that if these sorts of macro-ESP or macro-PK exist in real life, they should be presentable at least sometimes in experimental situations. Uncontroversial straightforward demonstrations are elusive. Why so, if psi is real and is not inherently weak and limited?

There seems to be a huge disconnect between the sort of anecdotal psi that gets people interested in these things and the sort that can be demonstrated in the lab. It's as if laboratory psi has nothing to do with the purported straightforward demonstrations of anecdotes.

Dean Radin said...

> I see lack of consensus ...

At the leading edge of the known, a lack of consensus can be found in virtually every scientific discipline. There will always be disagreements and debates, regardless of the strength of the evidence or theories. There are physicists who aren't happy with the ambiguities of quantum theory, and planetary scientists who aren't happy with global warming scenarios. Psi is just more controversial, so the arguments are somewhat louder.

But to repeat the important point of the original post, some skeptics now agree that some psi effects are "proven." This changes the debate from "does it exist" according to standard scientific criteria, to what's required for *me*, says Mr. Skeptic, to gain confidence.

> There seems to be a huge disconnect between the sort of anecdotal psi that gets people interested in these things and the sort that can be demonstrated in the lab.

For perceptual psi (telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition), the lab studies are actually very close analogs to what people report in real life. Any perceived mismatch is usually a problem in how the study is described and justified.

By contrast, lab studies so far do not support claims of macroPK (objects moving, levitation, etc.), and as a result most of my colleagues, and I, are very doubtful of any such reports. For microPK effects, that's another matter.

Tor said...

Dean Radin said:

By contrast, lab studies so far do not support claims of macroPK (objects moving, levitation, etc.), and as a result most of my colleagues, and I, are very doubtful of any such reports. For microPK effects, that's another matter.

I suspect this has more to do with our (in)ability to focus and utilize our minds than the PK effects being only micro. I do macroPK every time I move my arm. It is easy to do now, but I spent a hell of a lot of time and effort managing to move my body according to my will during the first couple of years in life. If I could only expand my mental self to the entire solar system, maybe I could move Mars (I'm only semi-serious now, but the possibility exists)?

The point:

If microPK is real, then is there really any difference between it and macroPK? I don't think so. I'm pretty sure macroPK is what we do all the time with our own body. It changes to micro only when we try to do something we have little or no training or experience in doing. Like changing something really unfamiliar in your own body, or interacting with an external system you are not familiar with at all.

Tor

Keith said...

At the leading edge of the known, a lack of consensus can be found in virtually every scientific discipline.

Sure. But so long as that situation remains the status quo, isn't the responsible position of the nonexpert to defer to the expert consensus when it comes about, or otherwise remain neutral or doubtful about any (and every) particular position at that frontier?

For example, should I have accepted the existence of black holes before there was a consensus among astronomers that they had to exist to explain otherwise unexplained stellar movements around an unseen companion?

Doubt or neutrality for the nonexpert would be the default if we were talking about some controversy in historical scholarship, for instance. The difference seems to be that the whole of parapsychology is controversial; among the broader scientific community at least, there is no noncontroversial core with controversial fringes (unlike physics or biology). In this respect, at least, parapsychology seems more akin to UFOlogy or cryptozoology. I'm not saying that that proves anything, just that the difference exists. And that might change in the future (but we aren't there yet--so it might not change, too). And for the record, I wouldn't take any of those as "pseudosciences," just as "unproven sciences."

By contrast, lab studies so far do not support claims of macroPK (objects moving, levitation, etc.), and as a result most of my colleagues, and I, are very doubtful of any such reports.

From this I infer that you and your colleagues are very doubtful of recurrent spontaneous PK explanations of poltergeist phenomena. Does this mean that you'd guess that all poltergeist outbreaks, cases of physical mediumship, or wound-corresponding birthmarks in cases of the reincarnation type must either be due either to normal factors like fraud or chance, or else the work of spirits? (That's not a rhetorical question, and I'd be happy with an honest "I don't know what would best explain them"--though this admission of ignorance seems oddly never open to the skeptics--as "I don't know" from a skeptic would be interpreted as a dodge like "He doesn't want to admit what he knows is true!"

Anyway, you don't have to indulge me any more than you are inclined to do. I'm just curious what your take on these more basic sorts of issues are.

David Bailey said...

The notion that psi exists but is too weak to matter, is just so anti-scientific, it takes one's breath away. Think of all the other weak effects from the history of science:

Bits of paper jumping up to a comb.

Fragments of mineral that seem to point in one direction than another,

Blurry little fringes in the image after light had passed through two slits.

Minute deviations in the position of a star, detected during an eclipse.

Tiny movements of fragments of dust or pollen suspended in water and viewed under a microscope.

Stage 2 is simply intellectually bankrupt!

Kato said...

Dean,
I am curious about your comment on macro PK being doubtful as there have been many poltergeist cases over the centuries that display these effects,some have been well documented by credentialed investigators,also,your own spoon bending experience could be said,also displays this.
Owens group in Canada produced a personality named Phillip that produced PK effects over many months,I realise as a scientist data is everything,but surely some of these cases are very persuasive and deserve to be taken into account before we decide it does not exist!

Dave Smith said...

Keith,

You raise some interesting questions. Am I right in assuming that you are not a scientist? It seems that you are trying to understand why controversial fields of science get conducted in the way that they do. If so, I would recommend reading:

"The Golem: what everyone should know about science" by Harry Collins and Trevor Pinch.

It's a bit old now but describes how controversial science gets done in the real world (psi isn't mentioned BTW). The book shows how and why consensus is rarely achieved on the cutting edge of any field. I don't think that should be a reason to be suspicious of the process. Get stuck in, read both sides of the debate, and come to your own conclusion!

On the disparity between real-world psi and laboratory psi, bear in mind that there are people who can reproduce relatively large ESP effects. Joe McMoneagle would be a good example. You can watch some video's of his work here:

http://www.lfr.org/LFR/csl/media/videos.html

One final point, I think that our interest in a laboratory based effect should not be diminished simply because the effect is small. If micro-psi effects are occuring relatively frequently on an unconscious level in the general population (which I think the data suggests), rather than on a macro-level, then there must be a reason for this. Perhaps this reason will give us clues about the mechanism underlying psi in general.

MickyD said...

Dean,

I couldn't find a reply to my question on the implications from the AWARE study. I look forward to your reply!

dawnow said...

Concerning macro PK and other strong psychical phenomena. To deny the physical reality of the actual physical occurrence in time of the numbers of excellent, well investigated and documented cases of a wide variety of physical mediumships and other macro psychical phenomena with correlating features is very problematic. These are cases of strong psychical phenomena such as direct voice mediumship and materializations which are fairly rare and happened or are claimed to have happened in the past. They can't readily be replicated in the laboratory (ignoring for the moment Schwartz's ongoing mediumship experiments). So regardless of the original evidence, regardless of how expertly and carefully investigated (good examples being physical medium D.D. Home and psychic mediums Leonora Piper and Eileen Garrett) they all are considered anecdotal and due to a combination of misperception, self-deception, exaggeration, naivete, faulty memory, collective hallucination or hypnotism, or outright fraud or conspiracy. There are strong reasons to invalidate each of these supposed mechanisms of unreality when looking at the best cases, where these arguments are collectively termed "hodgepodge skepticism" by Stephen Braude. Looking at the actual quality and quantity of the testimony, this is so unlikely as to be tantamount to denying the general value in any sense of human testimony.

anonymous said...

"By contrast, lab studies so far do not support claims of macroPK (objects moving, levitation, etc.), and as a result most of my colleagues, and I, are very doubtful of any such reports. For microPK effects, that's another matter."


Dean,

I thought I heard the baseball analogy from you? Isn't saying Macro PK is not reproducible is like saying Babe Ruth's batting is not reprodiucible?

Even if it were true, (and I don't agree that it is - see links below), that Macro PK hasn't been reproduced in a lab, it's hard to get some animals to reproduce in captivity yet no one doubts scientists who report observations of young of the species in the wild.

Furthermore what is special about a "lab" that is makes it different from a seance room that is controlled by the investigators?

The following links have links to original sources available on-line.


Telekinesis Proved In 1871



The Icelandic Physical Medium Indridi Indridason
(The linked paper is not by the original investigators but it includes extensive quotes from their work.)



"The Metal Benders" by John Hasted


On line references for the Scole Experiments can be found at the end of Chapter 8 of Victor Zammit's book.

anonymous said...

"The following links..."


Oops, forgot one

Dean Radin said...

Yes, there are some good reports of macroPK. I've seen some first hand.

The difference between these cases, perceptual psi, and microPK is that the latter two classes are repeatable more or less on demand (with enough data), and under highly controlled conditions, whereas the first class is not.

So I'm not denying that such things occur, but I am saying that my confidence about them is much lower because without being able to evoke these effects at will, the likelihood that we'll ever be able to understand them in a systematic way is significantly reduced.

There's an analogy with lightning. We may be able to accept the eyewitness testimony that it happens. But if all we can do is marvel at stupendous displays of power, we'll never understand it well enough to develop electronic equipment.

FB said...

@anonymous: thanks for the links:

'... collectively termed "hodgepodge skepticism" by Stephen Braude. Looking at the actual quality and quantity of the testimony, this is so unlikely as to be tantamount to denying the general value in any sense of human testimony.'

I have written a delightful experimental protocol for dealing with hodgepodge skeptics.

First, one gets a highly skilled medium, shaman, or astral traveler who is well-acquainted with some of the troublesome lifeforms of the astral plane.

Second, one secures a "hodgepodge skeptic" who claims there are no such things as spirits.

Third, one says, "Since spirits don't exist, you won't mind verbally affirming that you give permission to all the meddlesome spirits in this room to play pranks on you, and as token of permission, you surrender to them some fingernail clippings?"

Fourth, so long as the fingernail clippings remain in the possession of the medium, the medium continues to remind the mischievous spirits to play pranks on the fingernail-clipping donor.

If the astral plane really is inhabited by ethereal pranksters and other spirits, it should be possible to produce an observable run of "bad luck" and "Murphy's Law" incidents. There should be no ethical objections, since the skeptic gave permission to be harassed by spirits.

The experiment wouldn't be expensive; the only difficulty is finding a skilled medium who regards it as ethically acceptable.

MickyD said...

Dean,

Still no comment on your view on the implications for psi, if the results from the current AWARE study are negative. I know it's not your field (NDE research) but am intrigued by your answer.

Thanks,
Michael.

Dean Radin said...

> if the results from the current AWARE study are negative

Let's see how this study goes. There's not much use offering an opinion without data in hand.

Sandy said...

FB, I love your idea, but the best defense against the spirit realm is being a skeptic. For whatever reason, it takes some kind of an agreement or acknowledgement between two consciousness’ to allow for any kind of interaction, good or bad. Usually that agreement is unconscious. So if deep down you don’t believe that ghosts can hurt you, they can’t.

FB said...

@Sandy ' So if deep down you don’t believe that ghosts can hurt you, they can’t.'

Even I wouldn't suggest telling astral pranksters to inflict *harm* on humans. I was thinking they could show up in mirrors, spill soup on neckties, shake the target's hand when he's in front of witnesses, etc.

The idea is that a lot of loud skeptics are deeply *afraid* of spirits because they have a deep intuition that spirits are real. Deep down, they do believe the spooks can get them, but consciously they put up a good front. Of course, deeply sincere people wouldn't be bothered - I don't think 'hodgepodge skeptics' are sincere!

Further, I recognize that he who hires pranksters is more likely to get pranked, so I wouldn't tell the goblins to do anything I would really hate to be done to me.

On a slightly different note, in the more recent thread, Dean has linked to:

http://www.noetic.org/publications/godeeper_books.cfm


which has an awesome list of journal articles. In particular:

INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE INTENTION IN THE PHYSICAL WORLD

has links to the kind of studies that might be relevant to the "astral prankster" project.

As a start, one could try sending "astral messengers" to easier targets than skeptics. E.g., one might use distant intention to nourish one potted plant, to blight a second plant, and leave a control potted plant unvisited. (Yes, I am willing to harm potted plants in the name of Science. I am a cruel person.)

The goal would be to see if hypothetically independent astral spirits could perform the same role as a skilled psychic. (Of course, one could dispute whether these 'spirits' were the subconscious psi of the operator or genuinely independent entities.)

I think potted plants would be cheap, but if the study had a biologist, it could try cultured cells, as in paper at the linked page: 'Effects of healing intention on cultured cells and truly random events.'

FB said...

Can someone with a subscription of JSE answer the following?

At

http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal.html

I see a nice list of articles. The most recent pdf is from 2007. There are more recent titles without pdfs.

At

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Latest+Message+from+Water:+Is+Dr.+Emoto+a+Spiritual+Madoff%3F-a0206951893

I found a snarky article, dated 1 May 2009, that mentions Masaru Emoto's work in 2006 as a success, then says:
[quote]
But a better-controlled "triple-blind" follow-up study published this winter in the Journal of Scientific Exploration
didn't work out so well.
...Interestingly, the crystals, both "treated" and not, on average were not particularly beautiful (scoring 1.7 on a scale of 0 to 6, where 6 was very beautiful). And while the treated crystals were rated slightly more beautiful than one set of controls, they were rated ever-so-slightly less beautiful than the other set of controls.
[end quote]

Looking at the JSE website, I don't see any titles that seem to correspond to this. Also, I wonder if weasel words like "ever-so-slightly" are being used to camouflage the statistics.

FB said...

I read the snarky article (linked below) before reading all the way through the "radin_crystal2" pdf.

As I thought, the snarky article was using weasel words to get past a statistical significance issue in the original paper.

The original reads:

It should be noted that the distant controls were judged as being slightly
(nonsignificantly) more beautiful than the treated samples when considering all trials, but
for the comparison of main interest (treated vs. proximal controls) the results were in
alignment with the previously reported pilot test.

Title: "Effects of Distant Intention on Water Crystal Formation: A Triple-Blind Replication"
Authors: Radin, Lund, Emoto, Kizu
http://www.ions.org/emails/ishift/articles/radin_crystal2.pdf

The snarky article at:
http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Latest+Message+from+Water:+Is+Dr.+Emoto+a+Spiritual+Madoff%3F-a0206951893

doesn't mention the fact that the paper discusses distant versus proximal controls, and that the beauty issue was not statistically significant.

Dean Radin said...

Speaking of snarky articles....

One of my favorite poems is Lewis Carroll's Hunting of the Snark. I like this poem because it suggests that some snarks -- those of the boojum variety -- have an observation-sensitive aspect. So some things hunted may not wish to be seen, and if they are accidentally seen, then you may no longer be seen!

- - -

But oh, beamish nephew, beware of the day, If your Snark be a Boojum! For then You will softly and suddenly vanish away, And never be met with again!

dawnow said...

"So some things hunted may not wish to be seen, and if they are accidentally seen, then you may no longer be seen!"

This may relate to recent experiments in quantum physics. One is the experimental confirmation of Hardy's Paradox, which questions that rock hard, brute fact observed and interacted with things are really absolutely "True". Or are all things really only true to a certain depth? Mind bending. Maybe Carroll was psychic.

At http://www.answers.com/topic/hardy-s-paradox# :

Hardy's paradox is a thought experiment in quantum mechanics devised by Lucien Hardy in which a particle and its antiparticle may interact without annihilating each other. The paradox arises in that this may only occur if the interaction is not observed and so it seemed that one might never be able to confirm this.

Experiments using the technique of weak measurement have studied an interaction of polarized photons and these have demonstrated that the phenomenon does occur. However, the consequence of these experiments maintain only that past events can be inferred about after their occurrence as a probabilistic wave collapse. These weak measurements are considered by some to be an observation themselves, and therefore part of the causation of wave collapse, making the objective results only a probabilistic function rather than a fixed reality.

Deb Acle said...

But oh, beamish nephew, beware of the day, If your Snark be a Boojum! For then You will softly and suddenly vanish away, And never be met with again!

Hahahaha!

Methinks that what we urgently need is a new Max Planck Institute...for the Accelerated Vanishment of Sceptics.

Rebecka said...

A mass-market doco, Dean, a mass-market doco. This is what it will take to get your brilliant, groundbreaking work taken seriously.

Case in point: Nobody much cared about environmental trauma before Al Gore painted it all out for us mainstreamers. Then (armed with the scientific 'evidence' presented in a way that we could easily understand), well we cared! And our caring and newfound passion was that which fueled the powers that be to care...and five years on, it's on every agenda in every nation. A green revolution, nothing less.
The timing for a scientifically intelligent doco, put forth in mainstream speak, every-day language (what you do so very well, Dean) about your industry's incredible work investigating and proving paranormal science has never been better. You've got a boom in all things paranormal in mainstream TV viewing anyway, so you'll have half the Western world tuned in before you know it (Medium, Charmed, Psychic CSI or whatever it is). The Secret, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Esther & Jerry Hicks, What The Bleep? have all paved the path for you. We want MORE! Entangled Minds as a doco? Absolutely - and the time is now for this information to go mass-market. We're ready, make no mistake. And you get enough of us involved and convinced, just as with putting the environment on the agenda (one doco the veritable catalyst for the entire green revolution), we mainstream types carry the revolution for you. People want this - they want their 'paranormal' and 'consciousness' experiences taken seriously and investigated and explained - by people we trust. Go mass-market Dean.

Keith said...

Methinks that what we urgently need is a new Max Planck Institute...for the Accelerated Vanishment of Sceptics.

Let's not sugar coat it. Give it a name with more historical precedent, maybe something like "the final solution" to "the skeptic problem."

Maybe that will raise the consciousness of those who can't tolerate differences of opinion, and force them to think about why it is that they can't tolerate other people having views deviating from their own views.

Lost Pilgrim said...

There is no supernatural only natural if it happens it is natural. I have tried remote viewing at home and had way more success than I should have.

Proof for science has to be the same for all experiments.

Dean Radin said...

A clarification about my original post, found on this site:

http://podblack.com/2009/09/dr-richard-wiseman-on-remote-viewing-in-the-daily-mail-clarification/

That blog entry, from an admirer of Richard Wiseman, wondered whether he was quoted correctly. Wiseman replied:

“It is a slight misquote, because I was using the term in the more general sense of ESP - that is, I was not talking about remote viewing per se, but rather Ganzfeld, etc as well. I think that they do meet the usual standards for a normal claim, but are not convincing enough for an extraordinary claim."

alex.tsakiris said...

wow... his clarification is even stranger than his original quote... he's admitting that all these psi phenomena have been proven.

I think Wiseman (and other otherwise intelligent skeptics) are trying to give themselves wiggle-room for their future flip-flop.

Teresa said...

alex.tsakiris said...
wow... his clarification is even stranger than his original quote... he's admitting that all these psi phenomena have been proven.

I think Wiseman (and other otherwise intelligent skeptics) are trying to give themselves wiggle-room for their future flip-flop.

-------
Bingo! Scientific politics. I said that on another board about somebody else. They've got one or two pivotal statements so when the shift happens and the taboo becomes the popular opinion they're in.

~Teresa

Teresa said...

Bingo! Science has it's own politics. He and someone else have made ambiguous statements that are pivotal. When thinking shifts and the taboo becomes acceptable mainstream he's ready. He can shift right along with it.

~Teresa

Patrick said...

Wiseman said,

>> I think that [psi effects] do meet the usual standards for a normal claim, but are not convincing enough for an extraordinary claim. <<

But "extraordinary" vs. "ordinary" is not necessarily an objective distinction. And ironically, in this case, the effects ARE ordinary - the majority of people have experienced these things at one point or another.

WWu777 said...

Apparently, Wiseman clarified his position and stated that he was referring to ESP in general, not just remote viewing. Here is the update about that and analysis and significance:

http://subversivethinking.blogspot.com/2010/04/richard-wiseman-evidence-for-esp-meets.html

Flix said...

How blind they are. So now the damned food skeptics (the irrational variety) want to move the goal posts. The demand for more proof in the case of certain phenomena e.g. UFOs and the paranormal shows that the skeptics are, as I've always suspected, driven by their own belief systems and the need to debunk phenomena that their small minds cannot accept. Their knee jerk attempt to change the rules to suit themselves exposes their narrow view of reality and their desperate attempts to mold the perception of everyone else into their state of extreme conditioning. These people are dangerous and their attempts to hold back the growth of humanity's consciousness is nothing short of diabolical.
A red car needs more proof than an Alien's jalopy? Why? They're both in the driveway, one's red and the other's silver, happens to have a better form of propulsion and the driver happens to like longer drives. Apart from that they're the same; Vehicles of metal sitting in my drive. The difference in the saucer's case is the viewer is desperate to deny its existence even though millions have seen them and it's parked with one wheel on his foot, yet he still looks the other way. Damned nitwit!

Flix said...

Just as well the 'flat earthers" weren't given the same amount of wiggle room or we'd all be afraid to take our boats out too far lest we fall off the edge. I'm stunned at the small mindedness of some people. This sort of fear of the unknown is holding back the release of scientific advancements in the energy field that could be saving our planet. The military industrial complex who, by the way are responsible for this conditioning, find it a lot easier to keep this technology hidden because of people such as these. It exists, the military and the spooks have been using remote viewing for over 20 years, why? BECAUSE IT WORKS!

lesli_hannah said...

Even though this is an old post I'm taking a shot in the dark to ask:
Mr. Radin, what are your thoughts on Astral Projection? Have you even done it? Studied it? Believe it's possible? Thank you! ~Lesli