Sunday, February 01, 2009

Rhine Center


The Rhine Research Center website has a nice new look, and their latest newsletter provides a good overview of their current activities.

28 comments:

FB said...

Jim Carpenter's discussion of John Palmer's new paradigm sounds a lot like Jung to me. I am not an expert on Jung by any means, but this notion of unconscious psi sounds exactly like Jung's notion of collective unconsciousness reaching into personal unconsciousness to me.

Also, IIRC, Jung had quite a few psychic experiences.

FB said...

"Edwards called Levengood and asked him if they
could work together so that he could better understand his gift of energy healing. Levengood said to
come to Michigan and they’d check it out.
So, Edwards went up to Michigan and began working with Levengood’s
machine called a “charge density pulse recorder.” He knocked it off the
scale! Levengood changed the sensitivity so that it could handle the
amount of energy Edwards was sending, and, for the first time in his life,
Edwards was able to scientifically quantify and work with the energy. By
working with the equipment, Edwards explained that he was able to “finetune
his brain:” he could choose a frequency and direct his energy in a
certain way (DC positive or DC negative).Edwards called Levengood and asked him if they
could work together so that he could better understand his gift of energy healing. Levengood said to
come to Michigan and they’d check it out.
So, Edwards went up to Michigan and began working with Levengood’s
machine called a “charge density pulse recorder.” He knocked it off the
scale! Levengood changed the sensitivity so that it could handle the
amount of energy Edwards was sending, and, for the first time in his life,
Edwards was able to scientifically quantify and work with the energy. By
working with the equipment, Edwards explained that he was able to “finetune
his brain:” he could choose a frequency and direct his energy in a
certain way (DC positive or DC negative)."

For twenty-five years I've been telling everyone who would listen, "The human race needs a way to quantitative train aura strength, just like we can quantitatively train muscle strength in gymnasiums." Let's hope that this is a start in that direction. I've got a lot of Taiwanese friends who are interested in qi healing ... now I have to either motivate them to use their limited English to contact the Rhine Bioenergy Research Lab, or (more likely) use my limited Mandarin to translate Levengood's work from English to Mandarin.


Well, now at least I don't have the excuse of ignorance ... that's a small victory I should be thankful for.

Enfant Terrible said...

Mr. Radin,

the article "Correlations between the EEGs of two spatially separated subjects − a
replication study" shows a very recent failure to replicate the experiment of "entangled minds". The study was published at EJP.

http://ejp.org.uk/index.php?page=Current%20Issue

You can download the article here:

http://www.igpp.de/english/es/pdf/Correlations_EJP.pdf

The author says that the previous studies which positive results are likely due to inadequate statistical analyses. There is an commentary about the article published also in EJP, named "Dyadic EEG correlations re-examined: A commentary on the replication study by W. Ambach
JirĂ„± Wackermann" but I don't know what it says. Could you comment if the author is right about possible problems in statistical analyses in early studies?

Best wishes.

Dean Radin said...

> The author says that the previous studies which positive results are likely due to inadequate statistical analyses.

That article specifically refers to earlier studies by Jiri Wackermann, who in his commentary replies in part, "This argument is essentially qualitative: it says that the deviation from uniformity may in principle bias the rank-based statistics; the outcome of the simulation is presented ‘as is’, and no rationale is given for the particular choice of simulation parameters." (Emphasis in the original.)

I might add that Wackermann does not believe that this is a fruitful area of inquiry. He writes: "Reviewing results of our own replication study ... and taking into account the results reported by Ambach even without post hoc corrections, it is highly doubtful that there is anything such as a ‘real’ effect. This negative evidence arises from the
remarkable lack of consistency, in terms of direction and spatial distribution of the effect measures, and is thus based more on a visceral feeling for ‘what is like real physiology’ than on formal statistical inference."

He concludes with "During the last few decades, the search for so-called ‘physiological signs of psi’ ... went through several waves of enthusiasm, often elicited by novel experimental approaches (‘direct communication’, ‘direct mental interaction between living systems’, ‘presentiment’, etc), and sometimes claimed to promise a fundamental revision of our view of nature (e.g., quantum-like ‘entanglement’ between human brains, ‘reversal of time arrow’, etc). As to our knowledge, none of those high hopes has ever been fullfilled, and none of those approaches developed into a really working experimental paradigm — that is, one yielding reproducible results across laboratories, results that would visibly stand out of the bush of error bars. There are no signs of real progress."

My response: If I wasn't able to replicate psi effects, or see effects I've found replicated by others, I'm sure I'd feel the same way. And I take Wackermann's opinion seriously because I know he is an experienced and careful experimenter.

But the fact is that while these effects are not trivial to repeat, meta-analyses and my own experiences tell me they are in fact independently repeatable. The high variance nature of these effects, especially if working with unselected subjects, means that the likelihood of getting a significant, pre-planned result, with small N, is not very good. This is a straightforward statistical power issue, and not anything more complex than that.

So when a researcher who is normally involved in some other field hears about these interesting effects, then tries one or two replications and doesn't see that the effects are easy to replicate, it is perfectly reasonable to go back to business as usual. Much of conventional science is easy, safe, and rewarded as compared to psi research, which enjoys none of those perqs. As a result, there are a mere handful of scientists attempting to systematically study these phenomena.

Some might call that foolish, or heroic. I consider it the best use of my time and energy, not because I'm interested in chasing after uncatchable mysteries, but because after several decades of laboratory experience I see patterns that convince me that we are on the trail of real effects, and as such I find this to be far more interesting than anything else I've studied in more conventional areas.

MickyD said...

Hi Dean,

In your opinion is the cumulative psi database stronger since Entangled Minds, even accounting for recent methodological critiques (i.e., Ian Baker, Paul Stevens on discovering an artifact in their EEG remote staring detection studies, the recent discovery of a statistical flaw in Braud's Hemolysis experiments by John Palmer, and the caveats surrounding the correlated EEG work described above)?
My feeling from following Parapsychology for twenty years now, is that there is an extremely strong case for the existance of these abilities, even when taking into consideration failures to replicate, potential file draws, and general quality and statistical issues. However these artifacts discovered up to decades later are worrying for someone trying to push for a paradigm shift because they represent (in my mind) uncertainties in the current database.
Are these concerns unfounded or should we wait 20 or 30 years before claiming an effect after an experiment is completed?
Many thanks,
M

ps... is there going to be another publication after Entangled Minds?
I enjoyed that and the Conscious Universe.

Dean Radin said...

The great thing about science is that it's critically self-correcting. In all scientific disciplines mistakes are sometimes found, better methods are always developed, and the state of the art evolves. If it were any different in parapsychology I'd be worried.

Do adjustments of results in a few earlier studies affect the weight of the cumulative data? In my opinion, no. The preponderance of experimental evidence, to say nothing of repeated human experience, points towards real phenomena. The effects are complex and hyper-reactive to all sorts of conventional and unconventional factors, so trivially easy replication is not possible yet. But neither is easy replication possible for virtually anything out on the leading edge of science.

My next book will be for an academic press. Perhaps the one after that will be another popular book.

David Bailey said...

Dean,

Do tell us a little about your new book. The real disadvantage about writing for the academic press is that it will probably cost a bomb!

Regarding MickyD's comments, I wonder how many scientific experiments are totally above criticism - I am sure my chemistry experiments were not (about 30 years ago). It seems that it is only in psi that the discovery of the slightest flaw justifies disregarding a whole set of results.

I am not trying to justify careless work, but I remember reading about an ESP experiment in which the experimenters themselves discovered a sound signal leakage of -35Db (or some such figure). The leaking sound was far below audibility level, but the critics wanted to discard all the results prior to the fix.

Dean Radin said...

> how many scientific experiments are totally above criticism

None. The perfect experiment (in any domain) is not possible, perhaps even in principle. We would have to be perfectly omniscient to know all of the factors that mattered, and even then it may not be possible to control all of those factors. That's why we (all scientists) have to rely on independent replication, critical oversight, peer review, etc. It's not perfect but it's the best we can do.

> only in psi that the discovery of the slightest flaw justifies disregarding a whole set of results.

Most annoying, yes. But par for the game when challenging closely held assumptions.

> Do tell us a little about your new book...

It's a multidisciplinary anthology. I think I'll hold off on giving details until it's in press. That could take a year.

The other book I'm pondering may focus on the hard problem in psychology, the measurement problem in physics, and why these two problems -- both fundamental questions on either side of the mind-matter divide -- may in fact be the same problem. Most of my current research is focused on experimentally probing this issue.

David Bailey said...

Dean,

When you refer to "hard problem in psychology", are you referring to the nature of qualia?

Wow, if you are thinking of writing a whole book on the relationship between that and QM measurements, you must have some new results up your sleeve - or some more extensive theory.

Tor said...

Dean Radin said:

The other book I'm pondering may focus on the hard problem in psychology, the measurement problem in physics, and why these two problems -- both fundamental questions on either side of the mind-matter divide -- may in fact be the same problem. Most of my current research is focused on experimentally probing this issue.

This is something I think must be the case too, and I'm happy to read you are doing more research along these lines. I found the paper "Non-local observation as a source of intuitive knowledge" quite refreshing. Does the work you are doing now build on this previous experiment? Also, will you try to see if results are compatible with any of the QM based theories of consciousness? If your previous experiment mentioned above gets replicated, it would be a thumbs up for Stapp's theory. His wave function collapsing process 1, being non-local in nature, fits right in as something that links consciousness, QM and psi.

Tor

Dean Radin said...

> Does the work you are doing now build on this previous experiment? Also, will you try to see if results are compatible with any of the QM based theories of consciousness?

Yes, that's the goal. I'm using a custom-designed double-slit optical system.

David Bailey said...

>Yes, that's the goal. I'm using a custom-designed double-slit optical system.

Go on - can't you tell us more - science doesn't have to be secret, like commercial stuff!

I guess I would worry that the psi-QM link might be real, but only happening in our brains, so that conventional QM experiments might not show much. Maybe if the diffracted photons were directly observed by a human, it would be better.

Dean Radin said...

I don't think it's a good idea to discuss on-going experimental programs in public. The basic rationale for this program is described in my earlier article.

BTW, if a psi-QM link is indeed valid, then it cannot be limited to our brains.

David Bailey said...

>BTW, if a psi-QM link is indeed valid, then it cannot be limited to our brains.

Yes - I did not express myself very well! If, for example Stapp's model is something like right, then (at least as I understand it) our consciousness acts on the physical world by choosing to collapse particular wave functions more or less frequently. It obviously must do most of that inside our heads - because our consciousness has to control our bodies. PSI would come from collapsing the odd wave function of a quantum state outside our heads.

This might suggest that this process happens more regularly and reliably inside our own brains - which is why I wondered if direct observation of the diffracted photons would show a bigger effect that, say willing a result that was being observed by a photomultiplier tube.

Dean Radin said...

> if direct observation of the diffracted photons would show a bigger effect [than] being observed by a photomultiplier tube.

It's a good idea, but if consciousness collapses the wavefunction, then no intermediary mechanical system, like a photomultiplier tube, would matter in this type of experiment. BTW retroPK psi experiments were predicated on this idea, and they apparently work.

Sandy said...

BTW, if a psi-QM link is indeed valid, then it cannot be limited to our brains.

Can it be limited to our consciousness?

FB said...

"If, for example Stapp's model is something like right, then (at least as I understand it) our consciousness acts on the physical world by choosing to collapse particular wave functions more or less frequently. It obviously must do most of that inside our heads - because our consciousness has to control our bodies. PSI would come from collapsing the odd wave function of a quantum state outside our heads."

I'm not an expert on QM, but if my consciousness is more fundamental than my material body, and my material body is sort of condensed out of particles of consciousness, then IMHO the brain doesn't have to be the seat of consciousness.

For example, what about the heart and the solar plexus? What if psi acts more strongly through those organs, and acts only slightly through the brain? What if the whole body is suffused with psi-ability? In that event, most of the psi events might be triggered from bodily organs other than the brain.

anonymous said...

Is there a difference between consciousness and self-awareness?

The dictionary definition of consciousness is self-awareness. However in discussions on psi and qm, there is often this notion that consciousness is not necessarily a process but is also made of some sort of unique "stuff" different from matter as we know it. This brings up the question of whether tiny unformed bits of this "consciousness stuff" may have some properties assigned to consciousness by psi or qm but may not necessarily be self-aware.

Do we need another term to distinguish consciousness from self-awareness?

David Bailey said...

"but if consciousness collapses the wavefunction, then no intermediary mechanical system, like a photomultiplier tube, would matter in this type of experiment."

True - if QM is the last word - but clearly if Stapp's theory is anything like valid, something must concentrate most of the activity of each consciousness inside one brain - otherwise we could routinely operate other people's brains. This would suggest that for any particular conscious entity, only some wave functions are easy to collapse.

Dean Radin said...

> otherwise we could routinely operate other people's brains

Telepathy may be thought of as a consequence of nonlocal mind influencing another brain. Perhaps evolution has shaped mind and brain to be usually co-located, at least during ordinary states of awareness. In nonordinary states that constraint may not be as strong.

anonymous said...

"Telepathy may be thought of as a consequence of nonlocal mind influencing another brain. Perhaps evolution has shaped mind and brain to be usually co-located, at least during ordinary states of awareness. In nonordinary states that constraint may not be as strong."

Could you explain more about how you see evolution shaping nonlocal mind and brain?

Do you see the non-local mind as a result of physical biological processes or something that exists separate from the biological organism but temporarily inhabits it?


Thanks

BobH said...

Re.the 2-slit experiment and similar, I've read elsewhere that if the detectors at the slits are left on but the collected information is destroyed so that it is unusable, that an interference pattern is obtained. To your knowledge, is this true or was it just a thought experiment? It seems like an easy enough experiment to do and would indicate whether it is the measuring apparatus mechanically affecting the quanta or some sort of 'reverse causation' caused by having access to the knowledge. The former is a lot less WooWoo.

Dean Radin said...

BobH, you are referring to the quantum eraser experiment, and yes the observed results are as the thought experiment predicts. The behavior of the quantum world is deeply linked to knowledge.

BobH said...

Thanks Dean.
I'm just getting so frustrated by this "quantum eraser experiment". Half the people I ask say that it's the knowledge that counts (based on the QM math), the other half say that you can't take a measurement without affecting the quantum state so it's simply the act of measuring that affects it (whether you look at the results or not). The difference between the two interpretations has enormous implications. But no-one can point me to an actual physical experiment that occured to prove this one way or the other. Who actually carried out the quantum eraser experiment? All I can find on the net are references to a thought experiment. Can you, or any other bloggers out there, please help?

Dean Radin said...

Here's an experimental paper on the quantum eraser:

http://grad.physics.sunysb.edu/~amarch/Walborn.pdf

Dean Radin said...

If the above paper doesn't make your brain hurt, here's an experiment describing a delayed choice quantum eraser:

http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/9903047

David Bailey said...

BobH said

"Half the people I ask say that it's the knowledge that counts (based on the QM math), the other half say that you can't take a measurement without affecting the quantum state so it's simply the act of measuring ..."

Surely the point is that whatever you use to take a measurement, can - at least in principle - be considered itself as a quantum system. You can say that the QM math stops at the photomultiplier tube, but that is an arbitrary choice - vaguely analogous to choosing a coordinate system. That is why the collapse of the wave function is usually attributed to consciousness. This observation obviously applies to more or less all quantum experiments.

BobH said...

Dean
Thanks very much for the links. So the scientists that argue "it’s all down to the physical intervention of the observation process" must dismiss these experiments or their conclusions as being faulty in some way?
The results seem to show that it’s something like Bohr’s principle of complementarity that affects the nature of what can be measured. If the ‘which path’ information exists, then the particle like nature of the photons are all that can be observed. If the information does not exist or if it is destroyed even after detection, the wave like nature can still be observed.
The currency of Reality then, is information. And as conscious creatures we get to spend it!
But information can exist without conscious creatures to observe or use it.
So we have to be careful equating ‘information’ with ‘knowledge’, the latter implying that conscious comprehension must be involved in the waveform collapse, which isn’t strictly true if we accept complementarity as the explanation for the results of such experiments. I know it argues against the Copenhagen interpretation, but it seems to me we just need a universe with behaviour dictated by its own bounded and entangled nature. In our universe consciousness is a part of the information in the world and it adds to, and interacts with, the other environmental information in the universe. So it’s difficult (if not impossible) to separate one from another but, in theory, a similar universe without any form of conscious life would still behave in the same way; there just wouldn’t be anyone around to see it. Is that a fair assessment?