Monday, April 20, 2009

Two recommended books

This is Dr. Larry Dossey's new book on premonitions, ranging from anecdotes to scientific evidence to possible meaning and value. Written in Dossey's crystal clear style, and saturated with endnotes and references, this is an excellent overview of what we currently know about the mind-bending experience of knowing the future before it arrives. I advise caution when thinking about retrocausation, because if you try to figure it out it will make your brain hurt. Fortunately, this book goes a long way towards relieving that particular pain.



About 30 years ago, when I first became seriously interested in parapsychology, Charles Tart was one of a handful of scientists I approached who provided me with some encouragement. Most of my other colleagues and elders at the time suggested it would be better to do something else. Anything else. But Charley's approach to parapsychology, the clever experiments he conducted, and the way he framed the broader context of this topic (which evolved into the field of transpersonal psychology), convinced me that parapsychology was the most interesting of the many possible research directions I could have taken. The theme of his latest book is that scientific (or I should say, scientistic) models based solely on materalistic assumptions are wrong, and here are the reasons why. In building his case, he provides quick overviews of most of the lab-based and observational evidence (ESP to NDEs, and everything in between). He also analyzes the cognitive pathology of hyper-skepticism in some detail to show why materialism rules and why psi research remains on the scientific fringe despite the mounting evidence. While Tart does not discuss it, I strongly suspect based on his analysis that besides psi, three other topics are likely to be worth serious consideration as well: cold fusion, homeopathy, and UFOs.

65 comments:

Tor said...

I think both of these books will end up in my shelf.

I didn't know about Dossey's new one. Thanks for that one Dean! :)

You mention UFOs at the end, a topic that have always fascinated me. I remember in early 2001 when there was held a press conference by a group of people under the name "The disclosure project". They stated that they worked to fully disclose the facts about UFOs, extraterrestrial intelligence, and classified advanced energy and propulsion systems.

These people got together a whole bunch of government, military, and intelligence community witnesses testifying about UFO's, extraterrestrials and so on.

I felt their claims was to crazy to be true at the time, and I didn't get to watch the press conference. I did notice though that there was virtually no media coverage of this event, something I found a bit strange.

Later, 3 years ago, I saw a 2 hour video of the most important testimony this group had managed to get together (which now can be found on google video).

It really boggled my mind. These people came forward with full names and didn't seem crazy at all. The seemed credible.
If only 10% of what they claimed is true, then I can't shake the feeling of a major cover up going on just in front of our eyes. I don't go easy for conspiracy theories, so I don't like it.

If anyone is interested to have a look at this, the google video link is:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6552475158249898710&ei=PvHsSbu2NYHT-AaYnenoDg&q=disclosure+project

Tor

Dave Smith said...

Tor said,

I remember in early 2001 when there was held a press conference by a group of people under the name "The disclosure project". I came across this a few years ago too. I paid a small amount for the 'Briefing Document' that you can get access to from the website. It presents detailed testimony from the people featured in the google video and more. At first, I was inclined to accept the testimony as truth because these people have respectable careers in the military and such like, but gradually I have become more open to the possibility that some of them have delusions. I would say it's more likely to be the ones that did not have any documents to back up their case like the chap who claimed he 'interfaced' telepathically with ET's and was in a secret team who recoverd downed ET craft. People in the military are just as likely to suffer from mental disorders as the rest of us and we should expect the UFO field to attract delusion and fantasy prone personalities.

I found some of the testimony to be very interesting and quite believable though.

Lawrence said...

Tor it's nothing but a hoax, and a poor one at that. All serious skeptical (in the true meaning of the word, I don't mean pseudo-skeptical) ufologists (very very few unfortunately) have known that this whole extraterrrestrial hypothesis (ETH) is not tenable, and has been largely abandoned decades ago by serious researchers. Roswell and the like are well-known hoaxes/myths feeding off cultural/sociological factors, this is inclusive of the rising popularity of science
fiction, cold war paranoia and other factors. Radin himself addresses this in an article he wrote on ufology for IONS here where he takes the psychosocial approach to ufology inclusive of psi phenomena. Read it here http://www.noetic.org/publications/shift/issue_21/main.cfm

Nobody really knows what is going on re ufology, it remains a mystery wrapped in an engima, but one thing it ain't, at least there is no evidence for it, is physical aliens visiting from distant stars. The truth - whatever it is - is far stranger and far more interesting. It seems to ultimately and ironically and humorously enough be about ourselves. It is ultimately a mental phenomena (and involves the collective unconscious) and important to stress that this does not preclude physical effects for there are physical effects here, but this begs the question - what is the human mind and how does it interact with our physical environment? And this is why ufology is so important, and why it is so marginilised and misunderstood, it is certainly a key to unlocking the mystery of the human mind and its true relationship with the universe "out there". It ties into Radin's work as outlined in his books and also the GCP - that grew out of PEAR lab - has big implications to ufology (that have been largely ignored as to be expected). Psi phenomena (including poltergeist phenomena) are central to ufology but it is largely censored out and ignored by the aliens are visiting us in starships crowd since it doesn't fit the ETH paradigm, which is essentially a materialist paradigm.

One cannot do justice do this whole enigmatic trickster phenomenon in a simple blog post, or even an article, so I recommend reading up on it (you won't regret it Tor - it ties into ALL OF parapsychology including alleged OOBEs, NDE's, synchronicity etc, sociology, psychology, physics, brain science and especially altered states of consciousness,
shamanism, witchcraft, the occult including especially mediumship, folklore and myth! For starters Jacques Vallee's 'Passport to Magonia', published nearly forty years ago remains a classic (inevitably some errors but this book was the turning point), others include parapsychologist Hillary Evan's The Entity Enigma, the writings of Jenny Randles, John Spencer, John Harney, Bertrand Muheust, Peter Rojcewicz, Nigel Watson, the following on "alien abductions" - Stuart
Appelle, Dave Gotlieb, Alvin Lawson, Kevin McClure, Jenny Randles, Martin Kottmeyer, so many others. In general - John Rimmer, D Scott Rogo's 'The Haunted Universe', Stan Gooch's 'Creatures from Inner Space', and of course John Keel (caveat - not everything he writes is true, yet he remains a must-read, he gets the trickster nature of the phenomena, even as he gets snared up in it!) and Paul Devereaux. Patrick Harpur's
'Daimonic Reality' is a classic here, one of the best. George Hansen covers the subject in his The Trickster and the Paranormal. Michael Talbot mentions it in his The Holographic Universe. So many others I have left out.

To oversimplify as Vallee realised forty years ago, European folklore on faerie (in the true wide context of the word), Virign Mary sightings such as at Fatima during WW1, aliens landing in the woods of the US mid-west and "abducting" people are the same phenomena, they take different forms in different times and places (also includes many bigfoot/Abonimable Snowman sightings), depending on cultural beliefs and individual psychology and other variables that are barely recognised, and probably many that aren't. For that matter shamans communicating with spirits and otherwordly creatures in the land of the dead, the seance comminications and psi phenomena associated with Spiritualist mediums that acted as the catalyst for modern psi research, the Men in Black phenomenon, even sea-serpent sightings, the bedroom invaders of incubi and succubi and others, the visits of so-called witches to Sabbats attended by demons - it is all a part of the same phenomenon, ultimately a human phenomenon with arguably religious/shamanic dimensions to it. Hence it is completely misunderstood - yet misunderstanding it, as the ETH, is itself an integral part of the phenomenon!

Even if one has read up on this subject for years, like all other disciplines, one realises the further one goes the less one knows. Yet true ufology, seen through a parasocial perspective, is as Vallee puts it the title of his memoirs, the forbidden science, precisely because it ties in all the taboos from both the physical sciences and the social sciences.

And so it is almost entirely ignored, devoid of funding, and when not ignored, misunderstood entirely through the ET paradigm. This is an almost wilful misunderstanding since the truth of ufology (whatever it is) touches on so many taboos, including the ultimate taboo - self-knowledge.

Also check out a very good documentary "UFOs: It has begun" on the subject that was made more than thirty years ago (it's available in its entirety online on the web), yet still one of the best, features Vallee and J Allen Hynek. Note that the last UFO piece in the doccie, the one with the spaceship landing at the Holloman airforce base was later revealed to be a hoax (frankly it should have been recognised as one from the start). Hoaxes, rumour and even psychological warfare are an integral part of the phenomena - since it fits in to the very nature of folklore and human drama.

You want to try understand ufology/'alien' contact and abductions, start off by reading on European fairy lore, mystery
cults of the Ancient Meditteranean, Angeleology from all sources including Hebraic, Zorastrian and Christian inclusive of modern day "visions", shamanism in Indigenous Societies including Native American and Siberian, Arab lore on jinns, famous hauntings and possessions including poltergiest cases from around the world, psi phenomena associated with religious revivals eg Mary Jones in Wales a hundred years ago, Shakers in America and seance phenomena with famous mediums from the Spirtualist craze and then read up on the cases of 'high strangeness' in ufology from serious researchers (those free of ET thinking) and the parallels are all too striking and incredible. Even the founder of Mormonism Joseph Smith and Joan or Arc come into it, yes really. Hence the very strong taboos here, one is opening up a Pandora's box...

PS as a matter of interest Jacques Vallee helped to develop the early informal experiments on remote viewing at SRI, and the character played by Francois Truffaut in Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind was based on Vallee. In an interview, Vallée said, "I argued with him [Spielberg] that the subject was even more interesting if it wasn't extraterrestrials. If it was real, physical, but not ET. So he said, 'You're probably right, but that's not what the public is expecting -- this is Hollywood and I want to give people something that's close to what they expect.'"

Tor said...

David Smith and Lawrence,

I've never actually felt that aliens coming from space was the most likely interpretation of the UFO phenomena. Actually, I share much the same view as Dean on this.

However, I do think there is a kind of withholding of information going on. I base this on (amongst other things) conversations I've had with a former airline pilot. He himself had an encounter with a UFO that ended up with the military sending up a fighter jet to intercept it. This incredibly huge object, whatever it was, was impossible to catch. It just kept the same distance whatever the fighter pilot did. When all pilots were on the ground again, the message they got was that these things happened from time to time (including flight control seeing these on radar doing impossible accelerations.. any structure would get torn to shreds by g-forces), and you just don't talk about it if you want to keep your job.

This type of experience is similar to what many of the astronauts have mentioned having while going out in space, so it's in good company.

The withholding of information may just be the result of a strong taboo, much like the taboo scientists interested in psi face.

I've never actually tried to check up every one of those witnesses in the Disclosure Project, so to me it may or may not be for real. By real I mean that these people had an anomalous experience, and that maybe someone knows more than they are telling. It may also be a hoax, but if so I'd have to do a lot more digging to decide. A hoax would involve a conscious effort to deceive, not just being delusional or misinterpreting. Why do you think it's a hoax Lawrence?

Tor

anonymous said...

Hi Lawrence,

I'm familiar with a lot of the literature on ufo's and I agree with much of what you wrote about the complexity of the ufo phenomena and it's overlap with other paranormal phenomena.

But when you write:

"Tor it's nothing but a hoax, and a poor one at that."Can you explain what the hoax is, who is perpetrating it, and for what purpose?

Also from what I've read, I don't see how Rosewell can be dismissed so easily as a hoax. Can you explain why you believe it is a hoax.


Thanks,

anonymous said...

"People in the military are just as likely to suffer from mental disorders as the rest of us and we should expect the UFO field to attract delusion and fantasy prone personalities.Mental contact with aliens has been reported by remote viewers and by mediums. I don't know about the specific person in the disclosure project, but I don't believe all the cases are due to delusion and fantasy prone personalities. I think Lawrence's comment above addresses this point where he relates the ufo phenomena to other paranormal phenomena. It's weird but I don't think you can dismiss all of these reports as delusions or mental illnesses.

Dean Radin said...

Apropos: CNN interview

http://tinyurl.com/cuy8wa

I've spoken with Edgar Mitchell and many others about the idea of a cover up, and I've studied the files available through the Freedom of Information Act which confirm those claims. So I'm convinced that something interesting is going on. I also feel, without any direct evidence, that the cover up is not to keep the purported ETs on ice, but rather so the DOD can avoid admitting that they have no idea what's going on either.

Eva.ku said...

Thank you for the recommendations! I've been looking for something to read lately, after finishing up Entangled Minds, hehe. I ordered The End of Materialism last night, since it wasn't in stock in any nearby store. I can't wait for it to come!

FB said...

Lawrence,
you wrote a lot of things, and I'd be interested in reading your blog, if you've got one.

My take on the Disclosure Project is that they shot themselves in the foot by throwing in every willing interviewee. Some of them probably weaken their case. I trust Edgar Mitchell more than I trust Bearden, for example.

Back on the original topic, I might add the Gauqelin Mars Effect to the list of phenomena that deserve serious thought, along with homeopathy, cold fusion, and UFOs.

Lawrence said...

As far as cover-ups go and more accurately govt misinformation and hoaxes and the like, there certainly has been a lot of this. In fact that's a whole other issue that is itself confusing, bizarre, contradictory information abounds and difficult to get to the bottom of, depends on one's sources. But just a very brief list, Vallee's discovery of the Pentacle Memorandum, which as far as we know is genuine, still can generate so much heated discussion. It clearly implies that many scientits and officials in US govt circles knew long before Project BlueBook even began, that something real was going on re ufology, they just didn't know what and didn't want the public knowing that its very nature was a mystery and that signficantly the authorities themselves were clueless. It shows that the Robertson Panel (the first high-level official US govt scientific overview of UFOs) was kept in the dark on so much re ufology, on all the best data. Of course much criticism in the late 1960s of Project Bluebook and the Condon Report. Yet even here there seems to be so much misunderstanding and confusion, not a deliberate cover-up I think so much as confusion and sheer this-is-beyond-us-what-is-going-on we-have-no-idea don't bother us with this, it is nothing but an inscrutable headache' that the Air Force and US govt wanted to drop like a hot potato (at least officially), and in many ways they
were right.

What I mean is the Air Force, the government are not the bodies that should be investigating this in many ways - once they realised this was not a threat to national security even though they didn't know what was going on - even though it was inevitable that they would be investigating ufology, I mean UFOs being what they are are darting around in our skies and we don't know what they are! But it really is a phenomenon to be investigated by physicists free of govt and military obligations, and later the recognition that parapsychologists, psychologists, sociologists, neurologists and the like should be involved, the fact that this enigmatic phenomena has been entrusted to the government and air forces to deal with in the first place (and it is still seen in this light by the general public!), says more about our society than it does about UFOs, namely our militarism, deference to govermental authority and especially our materialist worldview and our denial of hidden realities and possibilites. This in itself is worthy of commentary, but another subject.

Back on track even though the US govt officially washed its hands of ufology with the release of the Condon Report in 1968 and the subsequent NAS review, we now know for definite that they continued to collate data on UFOs including important overseas cases (at least in the 1970s) but would not admit to it officially. This came out with the release of classified govt files under freedom of Information Acts as Radin implies above. British ufologist Jenny Randles (no believer in ET) has definitely proven the case for this, for one, with her perusal of many of the declassified files including CIA files. Other ufologists too of course.

Interestingly enough, in '77 the Science Advisor to then President Jimmy Carter recommended that a panel of inquiry be formed by NASA to see if there had been any new significant findings on UFOs since the Condon Report a decade earlier. Some months later, NASA responded to that recommendation by proposing "to take no steps to establish a research activity in this area or to convene a symposium on the subject." I suggest reading Richard Hendry's (prof of physics and astronomy at John Hopkins U) essay on this, 'UFOs and NASA', which explains why NASA came to this decision. It is a fifty page essay published in the JSE twenty years ago.

As far as government misinformation and psycholgical warfare, well this is a whole hoary controversy itself. This has happened for definite, the Majestic 12 hoax is one notable example, yet it does not seem to have initatied from any high govt echelons but more govt air force agents (and others who knows?) acting on their own and answerable only to themselves (ties in with the Holloman landing hoax I mention above), although it is difficult to make sense of all the
motives of the hoaxers here. See Jacques Vallee's commentary on this (ties in with the Roswell myth) and Dennis Stacy, Gareth Medway and others. Many aspects to the MJ-12 hoax in its entirety is simply so bizarre and frankly cruel, and even unbelievable, especially as concerns Richard Doty of Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) and his wilful malice here, that if the source in this regard was anybody not of the stature of Jerome Clarke, one of the most
knowledgeable and respected ufologists state-side I would have dismissed it entirely.

I suggest reading a transcript of a talk that Clarke gave to an audience in Australia back in '91 on MJ-12, the attempts by AFOSI to discredit ufologists like William Moore and Linda Moulton-Howe and the tragedy of Paul Bennewitz especially, which reveals how a govt agent would make use of the alien mythos to discredit somebody to cover-up real secret govt projects such as encrypted electronic radio communications! it is simply incredible and I cannot summarize it here. In the UK there was the very famous and controversial Rendlesham forest 'contact case' from the 1970s at at US Air force
base which may or may not have been an ad hoc experiment in psychological warfare to cover up something else that the USAF did not want becoming public knowledge, at least this is the case put forward by British ufologist Jenny Randles that saw so much squabbling and infighting within British ufology itself.

As far as Roswell goes, one of the best debunkings is Kent Jeffrey's long piece 'Roswell: Anantomy of a myth' published in the JSE and available online in toto. Just do some research here on Roswell from a skeptical angle, there is more than enough information out there online.

What Tor relates about the airline pilot's experience is not surprising at all, as is the fact that pilots are told to keep quiet about it. yes it is a whole big taboo. Vallee himself related how when working in France back in the 1960s on satellite data, radar operators and physicists picked up genuine UFOs often enough on their radar and instrumentation, yet Vallee was told by his higher-up that when the Europeans correlated their data with the Americans, they didn't want the Americans laughing at them, so they deliberately destroyed their data files on UFOs! Vallee was amazed and in fact this is what really got him interested in ufology, what his fellow scientists were choosing to bury and pretend didn't exist was what he decided to pursue!

Lawrence said...

Oh yes I almost forgot, the Disclosure Project, associated with Dr Stephen Greer. I think it a combination of misinterpretation of real UFO data, and thus not really a hoax in the true meaning of the word, rather error and mistaken thinking, working within a false paradigm, namely the ETH - trying to fit round pegs into square holes. Yet with that said, there is also it would seem deliberate stretching of the truth at the very least and outright fabrications, claims of proof of ET contact and knowledge of ET derived spaceship propulsion systems is simply out and out fabrication, and as such can be justifiably interpreted as a hoax. There is ZERO EVIDENCE for any of this, and so claiming that they have definite proof when they simply don't is in fact blatantly deceitful, and goes beyond mere erroneous beliefs. No serious researchers in ufology take them seriously at all, unfortunately ufology in the US is in such a pathetic state, but that is another topic.

Radin mentions astronaut Ed Mitchell, interestingly Mitchell didn't care for the Disclosure Project and Greer. Greer loved to trumpet Mitchell as supporting him, but Mitchell has distanced himself from Greer saying "Steve Greer...began to overreach his data continuously". And if Mitchell wants to have nothing to do with Greer, that should tell you how full of it Greer is!

I don't want to knock Mitchell, a man I have a great deal of respect for, but when Mitchell harps on about UFOs from the ET perspective - and more to the point buys into so many ET myths and govt cover-up of crashed saucers out there, or so it would seem (including the Roswell crash) and alien bodies having been autopsied by the govt, and US presidents like Eisenhower and Kennedy being briefed on ET but now it's just a cabal of insiders who keep all this alien crashed saucer stuff secret blabla - I really just get exasperated. Mitchell of all people should know better, because of his heavy involvement in parapsychology (hello IONS), and the heavy psi component to ufology. Yet I think it precisely because of his background as an astronaut that he is susceptible to the modern cultural mythology surrounding UFOs, ie the science fiction mythos on the one hand and allied to this, the space race and space exploration on the other that is key to making sense of Roswell and other ET related mythology.

Hollis Polk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anonymous said...

There are a couple of reviews of "Roswell: Anatomy of a Myth" also in JSE. They are both critical of that article and of its author's methodology and they both support the belief that a non human device crashed at Rosewell.

Critique of Roswell: Anatomy of a Myth, ROBERT M. WOOD, Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 127-140, 1998

PDF:
http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_12_1_wood.pdf
HTML:
http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:qUEzVH850tcJ:www.scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_12_1_wood.pdf+Roswell:+Anantomy+of+a+myth&cd=5&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us
"If I had been asked to referee this article forthe JSE, I would have rejected it
because:
· It shows but limitedknowledge of the relevant literature;
· It either intentionally or inadvertently suppresses critical information
that would significantly change the argument;
· It displays clearly incorrect assumptions about security procedures, bor-
dering on the naive;
· It uses none of the critical, careful, conservative approaches used, es-
poused and published in JSE about otheranomaly studies."
A Different View of Roswell: Anatomy of a Myth, MICHAEL D. SWORDS Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 103-125, 1998

HTML:
http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:ObWETj3IGDkJ:www.scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_12_1_swords.pdf+Roswell:+Anantomy+of+a+myth&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us
PDF:
http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_12_1_swords.pdf
"Jeffrey’s opinion on Roswell for me fails in both ways. The depth of research on the documents is not there. Neither is the comprehensiveness of the witness material.

...

At this moment, it seems to me (as James McDonald would say),
that a crashed piece of non-terrestrial technology is the least unsatisfactory hypothesis."

Hollis Polk said...

Tor -

A few years ago, my husband insisted I watch the Disclosure Project video, and I was impressed, too. Then he went to one of Dr. Greer's (the man behind the Disclosure Project) trainings -- and I had some anomalous things happen to me at home. So the next year I went to a training with my husband. Amazing things happen around Dr. Greer -- things that cannot be explained other than by non-physical, or perhaps non-earthly, beings. For example, lights appear in the sky, blink on and off, change directions, in ways that human powered craft can't do. I am clairvoyant myself, and I have to say that Dr. Greer is a WAY better clairvoyant and telepath than I am. He is not 'airy/fairy' and doesn't put up with BS or people making things up.

Dr. Greer tells many stories of the cover up, which include murder of people who are not going along with the official program. He tells of going to see several government officials, who acknowledge the cover-up and feel that their lives are in danger if they try to end it. There is also suppression of over-unity energy devices going on.

Further, one of the Disclosure Project witnesses has become an acquaintance. He is not only not crazy, and not making it up, he's pretty impressive -- talented in a number of fields.

I urge you to check it out, go to a training and see for yourself.

Zetetic_chick said...

I just finished reading "The end of materialism". I think this book is a must read for any person interested in psi research, consciousness, anomalous phenomena and specially the influence of the materialistic paradigm in science.

Dr.Tart is a first rate researcher and scholar, and I'm glad a book like that have been published by an expert like him.

His book is a solid 5-star book.

I always try to read the books recommended by Dean, so I'll probably order in the next days Larry Dossey's book too. I'm familiar with one of Dossey's books on healing, but I haven't read most of his books.

In this moment, my main interest is reading about research into survival of consciousness. Currently, I'm reading the book "The Survival of Human Consciousness: Essays on the Possibilities of Life After Death" by several authors. A very good book too.

Lawrence,

What do you think about John Mack's research on abduction? Do you think that most abduction cases may be explained only as hallucinations, psychological disorders or hoaxes?

I tend to be agnostic about UFOs, but some abduction cases seems to be a very intriguing phenomenon. However, it seems premature to claim it's due to aliens.

ZC

Lawrence said...

Our resident "clairvoyant"

"Dr. Greer tells many stories of the cover up, which include murder of people who are not going along with the official program. He tells of going to see several government officials, who acknowledge the cover-up and feel that their lives are in danger if they try to end it."

uh thanks for proving my point. To the nth degree.

ZC, I have nothing but respect for Mack and his research, even as I am of course critical of much of it. I do not care for how he was treated at Harvard. Interestingly towards the end of his life, before his tragic demise, he seemed to be moving away from the ET hypothesis toward a parasocial approach. ZC, abductions are certainly for the most part not hoaxes, nor disorders by the usual meaning of the word. As for hallucinations, this begs the question, what do we mean by hallucination? This gets into the nature of perception and cognition, phenemenology and ontology even - so I can't do justice to this whole controversy in a single blog post. Like I have said before it is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Abductions are certainly not literally true, but they are fundamentally true (as one researcher puts it) - that is they are representative of some deeper human psychosocial dynamics, and perhaps in interaction even with an occult reality (but we have to be cautious here). And it may well have physical or paraphysical aspects to it, but once again we have to be very cautious here. I can't explain this in a simple post or even a long article, it is too complex. It would be like trying to answer the question, what are the implications of telepathy to philosophy, religion, brain science and physics in five sentences! It simply can't be done.

You know how you read about shamans going to the underworld, battling demons or gaining knowledge that will come of aid to his tribe, experiencing the disintegration of his body which stands for his ego (the Tibetan chod for example), and reborn again, but this time with a deeper wisdom and 'occult' knowledge. While this is not literally true, it is fundamentally true (if the shaman is a genuine one, as in times past) and so it is all very real, as real as the trees and stars; because it is occuring at the fundamental level of mind (whatever that is), of consciousness, it doesn't get more real in a way. Since Mind as Radin and others are showing, in so many different scientific disciplines, appears to be fundamental to the universe and its dynamics (even as most scientists ignore this and dismiss it, hence why the GCP is simply largely ignored, precisely because of its implications and not inspite of them), our mental landscape is not a mere abstraction. The symbols and archetypes of our collective consciousness have a life of their own, inseperable from who we are. I cannot stress this enough, it is not a mere abstraction. Yet of course it is ultimately a mystery, perhaps at a fundamental level, unknowable.

The whole alien abduction phenomenon is now covered in such a vast (confusing) literature, that one really needs to research fairly deeply oneself if one wants to make at least some sense of it. Like anything in life, no short cuts, you have to slog through it yourself, and use your discrimination and scientific caution (something too often in short supply). I just want to add something - some of the most famous abductees like Betty Hill (the first abduction case to be given prominence) and later Whitley Streiber would come to see their abductions as not necessarily literally true ie involving aliens, but as something more interesting, involving a deeper human dynamic, but still very real, but not something to be taken at a literal face value. Streiber I must add appears contradictory here, hard to make sense of much of his writings - but this is the nature of the phenomenon, it is beyond rationality and sense! There is way too much paranoia and gullibility in the field though. Too little scientific rigour. I don't care for Budd Hopkins and David Jacobs btw and I think if anything they have been harmful.

It is an amusing and at the same time tragic irony that people who profess an interest in psi phenomena and even shamanism and mysticism and non-materialist science, take the whole ET is visiting earth and abducting humans at face value, since this is itself indicative and symptomatic of materialist thinking. A kind of boxed thinking and a failure to make connections, the contradiction is obvious when one researches the subject of ufology deeply and gets beyond the superficial "research". Read up on the stuff I mention in my first post, the parallels between ufology, fairy lore and shamanism are simply obvious, but it means reading deeply and widely. There is no short-cut here, just like anything else, you can't be conversant in a second language after a month's lessons, it's a long slog. Same here.

I want to stress, the "science" of ufology in North America is in such a pathetic dismal state, that whatever optimism there may have been some years ago, has had to be abandoned. It is frankly an unfunny embarrassment (see Greer for example). The reasons for this are obviously complex and are worthy of a serious sociological analysis, but that is another topic.

Dave Smith said...

Why is the ET idea so hard to believe? Personally, I think it's the simplest explanation for the unexplained cases. We know there are likely to be other planets that can support life. We even have some theoretical basis for how ET's might get here by bending space-time and such like. An ET technology far in advance of ours is likely to leave us scratching our heads and may even appear magical.

Dave Smith said...

On the UFO topic again,

Here's a critique, by Stanton Friedman, of Kent Jeffrey's debunking of Roswell:

http://www.v-j-enterprises.com/sfjeffry.html

FB said...

"Amazing things happen around Dr. Greer -- things that cannot be explained other than by non-physical, or perhaps non-earthly, beings. For example, lights appear in the sky, blink on and off, change directions, in ways that human powered craft can't do. I am clairvoyant myself, and I have to say that Dr. Greer is a WAY better clairvoyant and telepath than I am. He is not 'airy/fairy' and doesn't put up with BS or people making things up.
"

Does Dr. Greer assign much importance to gathering photographic evidence of UFOs? He's tackling three major taboos -- UFOs, psi, overunity -- if I were a photographer and if I were not living in Asia I might consider going to his training just to try to snap some photos of the lights when they show up.

Of course, I'm not a photographer, and I'm not nearly as experienced, so possibly there are other categories of evidence that are of higher priority.


BTW, anonymous, thanks for the JSE links...

anonymous said...

In this moment, my main interest is reading about research into survival of consciousness. For those readers who, like me, are waiting for their local library to get the newest books, you might be interested to know that there are many books on the subject of surivial of consciousness that are available free on the internet.

Some classics in the field are:

"Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death" by Frederic William Henry Myers

http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=title%3A%28human%20personality%29%20AND%20creator%3A%28myers%29
"Death Bed Visions" by William Barrett

http://www.survivalafterdeath.org.uk/books/barrett/dbv/contents.htm
"Phantasms of the Living" by Edmund Gurney

http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=title%3A%28phantasms%20of%20the%20living%29%20AND%20creator%3A%28edmund%20gurney%29
"Mrs. Piper & the Society for Psychical Research" by Michael Sage

http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/19376
Some sources of e-books on this topic are:

The International Survivalist Society

href="http://www.survivalafterdeath.org.uk/library.htm
Spiritwritings.com

http://www.spiritwritings.com/library.html

Survival E-Books

http://survivalebooks.org/
I have more recommendations on my web site here:


http://www.geocities.com/chs4o8pt/summary_of_evidence.html#summary_evidence_on_line_classics
and here:


http://www.geocities.com/chs4o8pt/bibliography.html
There is a list of more e-libraries here:


http://www.geocities.com/chs4o8pt/elibs.html

FB said...

I should have mentioned in the earlier comment: Wikipedia claims Greer has no photos.

I don't know if it's worth the time and effort to try to address the critics ... they might well move the goalposts...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_M._Greer

Wikipedia writes:"As yet CSETI and Greer have been unable to provide any evidence - either photographic or filmed - to support the success of this program."

jimbo said...

About Cold fusion: it seems to be getting a bit of press lately. 60 Minutes did an excellent peice on it last sunday, which you can see at their website:

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4955212n

Aside from its inherent potential as an energy source, what fascinates me about CF is the vehemance which this field, which at most would require a slgoth modification to accepted principals of physics, is utterly trashed by the gatekeepers of scientific orthodoxy.

Even though I think the evidence for psi is overwhelming, I can see how someone steeped in conventional materialist science would have a problem with it. But the stuff they have done to CF experiementers, to the extent where no young, nontenured scientist dares even let on that he believes in it lest his career be destroyed, is frankly astonishing - and makes me glad I never pursued a career in science.

The gulf between the image mainstream science has of itself (as impartial, objective, only interested in evidence) and the reality (a nest of vipers) becomes more obviuos with every passing year...

Robbie said...

Hey Dean.
Interesting blog by the way, I really admire the work that you are doing and will be purchasing your books as soon as I can afford it.
Anyway this may be a bit off topic but at the skeptiko forum I have been discussing the Ganzfield experiments with another user, and he states that the original Ganzfield papers and your work don't match up. I was wondering if you had a response to this?
Cheers!
Robbie

david said...

Jimbo, I agree it is astonishing how savagely the scientific establishment has come down on cold fusion research and researchers. I think the main reason is simply money. There is an empire established since at least the 1970s attempting to accomplish hot fusion using hugely expensive technology with magnetic confinement (Tokamak type devices) and high power laser inertial confinement. Billions have been spent and continue to be spent, many careers depending on this funding. Naturally any suggestion that a better way is even possible will be attacked and quashed because it threatens this empire. Fleischman and Pons were the first victims.

FB said...

Lawrence quoted:

"Dr. Greer tells many stories of the cover up, which include murder of people who are not going along with the official program. He tells of going to see several government officials, who acknowledge the cover-up and feel that their lives are in danger if they try to end it."

Lawrence then said:
"uh thanks for proving my point. To the nth degree. "

Lawrence, you are not communicating clearly. You are not specifying what point was allegedly proven, nor how. In short, your comment comes off as both uncooperative and unscholarly.

However, if I can dredge up some coherent meaning out of your sneering, you seem to be saying that it would be absurd to suggest that violence or coercion could be used to suppress a new idea such as zero-point energy.

Lawrence, maybe you are not up on current events, but governments really do assassinate people.

You can get away with denouncing anyone who talks about UFOs, zero-point energy, and psi, but you're going to have a hard time denouncing people who believe that espionage exists, governments cover up their misdeeds, and assassination happens.

I don't want to drag this blog too far away from its core emphasis on paranormal science, but the use of violence and coercion to suppress ideas is an unpleasant fact that must be considered. Possibly this should be studied as part of the sociology of taboo-enforcement. I am reminded of Dean Radin's talk on the "taboo of psi."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qw_O9Qiwqew

@Hollis Polk: I listened to Greer on the World Puja Network archive last night and I was disturbed to hear him refer to Bearden as a physicist. As far as I know Bearden's Ph.D. is *not* in physics. Dr. Greer also commented that his group needed to consider physical security to guard against break-ins.

Dean Radin said...

I've been posting these UFO related comments because I think the topic is interesting and worthy of discussion. But please, keep the dialog civil, otherwise I'll close this thread.

Lawrence said...

I never said that zero-point energy, UFOs and psi don't exist (I make it clear that I take UFOs and psi seriously. I think that's simply obvious) - this is a straw-man. I merely state that the ET hypothesis is unproven, it is nothing but a belief.

I have studied the subject very seriously, and read the pro-ET ufology stuff, it simply doesn't stand up to scrutiny, as most serious ufologists in the UK and Europe realise. Like I said in the States, it is another story.

Governments assassinate people, another straw-man. I'm not saying they don't. There is no proof that the US govt or any other govt has killed people to hide a secret project involving crashed saucers and dead aliens or over any other ET related project . None.

I'm not saying anything Radin isn't saying btw.

If people want to take Greer seriously, fine, but some of us will choose not to.

Rosemary Breen said...

Hi Ive just started my own blog and have started looking around for quality blog sites - et voila - of course this one stands out.

Anyway, I'm not sure if youre aware but Martin Plowman has recently become the first person from Melbourne University in Australia to be awarded a PhD, based on his thesis in UFOlogy.

Here's the link to the Press Release. Thought you might be interested to keep up with what's happening Downunder.

Cheers

Rosemary Breen
http://voice.unimelb.edu.au/view.php?articleID=5319

littlebug said...

Back to the original topic on this post... there's a very interesting post by Dr. Larry Dossey on Huffpo regarding premonitions. I did not read the comments following it, because I am having a pleasant evening.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-larry-dossey/premonitions-and-spiritua_b_193830.html

Patrick said...

Dean, this may not be the best place to ask you, but what are your thoughts on Beischel and Schwartz's triple-blind medium study (2007)?

Dean Radin said...

Patrick, I thought that study was impressive. I hope it inspires others to repeat and extend it.

Patrick said...

Thanks for the response! Related question: what do you think about Fontana's assessment of super-psi in his 2005 book "Is There an Afterlife?"

best wishes

- Pat

anonymous said...

"what do you think about Fontana's assessment of super-psi in his 2005 book "Is There an Afterlife?"I'd also be interested in Dean's views on the subject. In my opinion, I thought Fontana did a good job of reviewing the arguments for super-psi and rebutting them. When you consdier all the forms of evidence suggestive of the afterlife: crisis apparitions, death bed visions, mediumship, reincarnation, NDE, cross correspondences, and electronic communications, you have to stop calling it super psi start calling it pseudo-afterlife-psi. Why do so many types of paranormal phenomena seem to provide evidence for the afterlife if it is really an effect of living persons?

Some of the best evidence that mediums are communicating with spirits of the dead comes from the cross correspondences and Hodgson's analysis of the mediumship of Mrs. Piper.


Hodgson's report was published in Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research and is available from Google Books:

http://books.google.com/books?id=5dTNAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA284&dq=editions:LCCN09022954&lr=&output=html

I have several links to more information about the cross correspondences on my web site:


http://www.geocities.com/chs4o8pt/summary_of_evidence.html#summary_evidence_cross_correspondences

I also provided an illustrative hypothetial example of a cross correspondence in another thread here:

http://deanradin.blogspot.com/2009/03/shrinkrap-podcast.html?showComment=1236279000000#c8152253320258721883

Dean Radin said...

I like Fontana's book. In fact, I'll be using it as the basis for a workshop I'll be giving on survival at the upcoming IONS biennial conference in June 2009.

When it comes to psi vs. superpsi explanations, I'm still agnostic.

On balance I lean towards superpsi, but that's because for me, all psi is superpsi.

If plain old vanilla psi provides us with an ability to gain information about virtually anything, independent of the usual constraints of space and time, then in principle that same ability can provide all of the evidence used in arguments for survival (possibly excluding physical effects, as that type of evidence is less certain in my view).

But every other Tuesday I lean in the other direction, often sparked by reading some new study involving NDEs or apparitions or similar effect.

gildedchute said...

If you feel that "cold fusion" merits serious appraisal, do you have any feeling about the possible merit of biological transmutation as claimed by researchers like Louis Kervran, who believed he had demonstrated that calcium-deprived chickens could transmute dietary potassium into calcium for their eggshells? Apparently LENR researchers like Storms are inclined to take such suggestions seriously since (they believe) the Fleischmann-Pons effect demonstrates transmutations at low temperatures with little ionizing radiation. If Kervran-like transmutations are real, it would have some relevance to quantum-biological theories of mind/psi, since it would be an example of cells making controlled use of "exotic" physics.

Dean Radin said...

I'm not an expert on cold fusion, or on the possibility of biological transmutation, but I am convinced that what we currently call "exotic" processes are given that exciting label only because we don't understand it yet.

History shows that crazy new ideas at the leading edge of science eventually become ho-hum fare for high school students. E.g., the last few generations of physicists were thoroughly shaken when confronted with quantum nonlocality, but now it's taken for granted as no big deal by undergraduate physics students.

Tor said...

Dean, when putting survival and superpsi up against one another, I think it is easy to forget about the content of the experiences. I'd say it is just as important as any veridical or other psi aspects.

NDEs seem to involve psi, but the essence of the NDE experience is not about psi, but about gaining a deep and profound understanding about reality, oneself and the relation between the two.

That said, I don't necessarily see personal survival as the most likely interpretation of these experiences. Survival yes, but not necessarily personal in the usual sense. To me it's more like the raindrop that goes back to the ocean. Maybe the drop can remember that it was apart from the ocean after getting back. Maybe the ocean is the real home and the separation was the illusion.

In any case, I feel that my personality is a fleeting thing, always changing as I get influenced by external factors or choose to move myself in a certain direction. I would not be surprised if, when I die, in the end of the detah process I discover that Tor is just one aspect of a bigger ME that encompass all of us, and everything else. A big conscious something.

Not a new thought, I know. But for some reason I feel there is something to it. Maybe I've been practising too much qigong and eastern lore is seeping into my mind from who knows where :)

Tor

anonymous said...

"If plain old vanilla psi provides us with an ability to gain information about virtually anything, independent of the usual constraints of space and time, then in principle that same ability can provide all of the evidence used in arguments for survival (possibly excluding physical effects, as that type of evidence is less certain in my view)."



Okay, I'll take the bait. Here are a few arguments for survival and against super-psi...

Why do children spontaneously remember past lives and not past novels, past legislation, or historicla weather data?

Why do children who remember past lives sometimes have birthmarks on parts of their bodies where they sustained an injury in the remembered past life? Is the fetus psychic? Is it due to pk on the fetus caused by an unrelated psychic?

Why have many hypnotists accidentally discovered past life regression therapy and why does it have such beneficial effects when traditional regression therapy or other types of psychotherapy fail?

In trance (and physical) mediumship, it is a common occurence for a spirit to have difficulty communicating at first but after several sittings gains skill and stamina at communicating through the medium.

Patrick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave Smith said...

Why do children spontaneously remember past lives and not past novels, past legislation, or historicla weather data?That's a good question. If one is interpreting reincarnation in terms of psi, there are a number of hypotheses you could make. Ultimately, you would need to perform suitable experiments to test them but I'm not sure if an experimental protocol for reincarnation is practically and ethically possible?

For example, if we assume that the child is picking up on the living memories of the deceased person via psi, we might hypothesise that only certain kinds of memories and thoughts get 'reincarnated' in the child. Which memories get reincarnated could be dependent on some property of those memories. Their strength or their degree of association with other memories perhaps?

Dean Radin said...

> First, some veridical NDEs occur when there is no measurable brain activity ... suggests that ... psi is occuring without a functional brain.

This assumes the perceptions occur in real-time. But psi is not bound by the usual flow of time. I.e., the perceptions could have occurred precognitively, or postcognitively.

> super-psi ... seems inconsistent with what mediums report and reportedly perceive...

Our subjective impressions are projections of what is "really" out there. And our ability to articulate those impressions is bound by our language.

> ... But if a fully living brain can produce mild effects, then why should we think that a dying brain can produce stronger-than-usual psi effects

Because most strong psi effects, even in "ordinary" people, occur in altered states of consciousness. And the dying brain/mind would certainly fit that description.

Note that just because I lean towards the superpsi explanations (because as I said, to me all psi is superpsi), that doesn't mean I lean away from some form of survival. I don't think that brain = mind, so that opens the strong possibility that something survives. I just think that whatever it is, it's not going to resemble what we think of as a more or less conventional ego-based personality, which is what is implied by what mediums report.

anonymous said...

"If plain old vanilla psi provides us with an ability to gain information about virtually anything, independent of the usual constraints of space and time..."

Hi Dean,

What evidence are you basing this statement on?

To explain trance mediumship I think you also have to believe that the unconscious mind of the medium can use that information to convincingly impersonate the mannerism and patterns of speech of another person. There is evidence from hypnotism and multiple personality disorders that the unconscious mind can create an alternate personality but is there evidence it can use information to convincingly impersonate a real person?

To explain the cross correspondences you also have to assume that some how the unconscious mind or one or more individuals can psychically influence or interact in a coordinated manner. Is there any evidence for this independent of the cross correspondences?

anonymous said...

"First, some veridical NDEs occur when there is no measurable brain activity (fixed pupils, no EEGs, etc.)."


Hi Patrick,

Can you give any references for this?


I'm aware of the Pam Renyolds case but the wikipedia article on it seems to indicate the veridical (verifiable) parts of her nde did not occur when her eeg was stopped.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pam_Reynolds'_NDE

The Sarah Gideon is discussed on Michael Tymns blog which says, in an addendum at the end of the article, that this case is an "amalgam" of more than one case and includes the Pam Renyolds case.


http://metgat.gaia.com/blog/2008/3/back_from_the_dead?printable=1

Thanks,

anonymous said...

"If one is interpreting reincarnation in terms of psi, there are a number of hypotheses you could make."

I don't think psi is a good explanation for children who remember past lives. That type of extreme detail and accuracy tends to occur for a very few people who are among the worlds best "psychics" and who have a general skill.

For example expert dowsers can detect more than just water, and they do it more than once in their life.

To propose that children who remember past lives are getting their information psychically is to propose a completely unique type of psi. It effects only one subject: lives of dead people, and it occurs only once - the child doesn't have knowledge of several lives, only one. This doesn't fit any other known patterns or theories of psi.

Mediumship might be a better explanation for memories of past lives than super-psi since in mediumship the spirit may be the source of psychic influence on the percipient and that would explan the limitation to the subject of dead people. However it doesn't explain birth marks or why the children only know about one life, and in any case mediumship implies survival.

Children who remember past lives would seem to be better explained by some phenomena other than psi, such as an actual memory of the individual's past.

Dean Radin said...

> "If plain old vanilla psi provides us with an ability to gain information about virtually anything, independent of the usual constraints of space and time..."

>> What evidence are you basing this statement on?

Precognitive remote viewing.

>you also have to believe that the unconscious mind of the medium can use that information to convincingly impersonate the mannerism and patterns of speech of another person

We know a little about what is possible via conscious psi. With unconscious psi I expect that we are capable of far more. If "deep mind" is not tightly located within individual bodies, and separation is an illusion (which is in general what I think psi implies), then I don't see why an appropriately talented person could intentionally embody another personality and "become" them sufficiently to convince others that they are, or at least are in touch, with that personality.

anonymous said...

"> "If plain old vanilla psi provides us with an ability to gain information about virtually anything, independent of the usual constraints of space and time..."

>> What evidence are you basing this statement on?

Precognitive remote viewing."

Hi Dean,

I think this leads to a testable prediction: that mediumship among ordinary average people should be demonstrably more detailed and more accurate than remote viewing. This is based on the assumptions that mediumship is due to communication with a surviving consciousness and remote viewing is due only to the psychic ability of the percipient.

My hypothesis is that mediumship would be more detailed and accurate because a spirit is helping whereas in remote viewing the psychic is, presumably, on his own.

I say "in ordinary average people" because talented psychics might not have the same limitations as ordinary people.

(Also, the assumption that remote viewing is not aided by spirits is an assumption which might be wrong in some or all cases.)

I don't think there has been much research restricted to only "ordinary average people" but as a first step, existing research with talented or trained psychics could be examined.

But, I don't know, off hand, how to compare different types of experiments. Do you know if such a comparison is possible with currently published research?

How might an experiment to compare mediumship to remote viewing be designed?

(If possible, it might also be interesting to compare the accuracy and detail of children's past life memories to the accuracy and detail obtained by the best adult psychics. I don't know if this is possible since past life memories not reported in laboratory experiments - but one might hypothesize the children's past life memories are far too accurate and detailed to be due to any type of psi.)

Thanks,

Dave Smith said...

Some interesting points anonymous!

> To propose that children who remember past lives are getting their information psychically is to propose a completely unique type of psi.


Possibly. The ostensive reincarnation effect seems to be unique but the underlying process may be the same one that is responsible for telepathy, precognition etc. After all, reincarnation can be described in the same terms as ESP (and PK). The information is just acquired under more specific circumstances. There's obviously something different about the conditions in which reincarnation manifests that distinguishes it from 'ordinary' ESP and understanding what drives this diffrence is a challenge indeed!


> It effects only one subject: lives of dead people, and it occurs only once - the child doesn't have knowledge of several lives, only one. This doesn't fit any other known patterns or theories of psi.


I'm not sure that it doesn't fit known theories. For example, as I understand it (and anyone please correct me if I'm wrong), Stanford's PMIR model would predict that the child's memories of a past life are a psi-mediated response to the childs needs at the time, which could be a need for attention from their parents or a need to conform to cultural beliefs for example. It could be that a widespread cultural belief in reincarnation (as there is in India) biases children to use psi information to manifest these types of effects to serve their particular needs and dispositions, perhaps even in an attempt to please and impress their parents or community. Stanford termed his model a dispositional model in that "all extrasensory responses are, in very general terms, behavioural, imaginal, mnemonic, or other organismic activity which is appropriate in the context of events relevant to the concerns, dispositions, or needs of the organism..."(Stanford, JASPR, 1978). This model may suggest that reincarnation is less common in cultures that do not have beliefs in reincarnation because there would be less disposed to manifest such effects.


> Children who remember past lives would seem to be better explained by some phenomena other than psi, such as an actual memory of the individual's past.


I don't understand. How is that different from psi?

anonymous said...

"> Children who remember past lives would seem to be better explained by some phenomena other than psi, such as an actual memory of the individual's past.


I don't understand. How is that different from psi?"

It depends on how you define psi.

If an conscious entity maintains individuality across multiple lives, memories from a previous life might be intrinsic to the individual and therefore remembering a past life might be substantially different than accessing information psychically as in remote viewing.

Does remembering what you had for lunch yesterday require psi?

Does being conscious require psi?

Recovering from amnesia is substantially different from doing research in the library.

I've read a few of these cases of children remembering past lives and they seem to be so detailed and accurate that it doesn't seem like psi. I said it doesn't fit the pattern of psi because there is no altered state of consciousness, no life threatening crisis, and no other examples of psychic talent in the child (as far as I know). To me, it doesn't seem like psi.

It's interesting that some paranormal phenomena seem to occur at speicific times in a life: young children sometimes have past life memories, teenagers sometimes evoke poltergeist phenomena, and then at the time of death a person may cause a crisis apparition.

I'll have to look up Stanford's PMIR model. Are there any on-line references you recommend?


Thanks

Patrick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anonymous said...

""Dying" can certainly be viewed as a sub-category of "altered", but if psi is a brain function then we shouldn't expect a dying brain to increase brain capacities."

Hi Patrick,

There is a well regarded theory, among those who believe that consciousness is non-physical, that one of the purposes of the brain is not to generate consciousness but to restrict it.

In that case, if you get rid of the brain (ie if you die) you have expanded (psychic, "cosmic") consciousness beyond even what living psychics experience.

This is often referred to as the filter model where the brain filters some aspects of consciousness like a colored glass can filter out some wavelengths of light.

What passes through the filter comprises the conscious mind.

Restricting consciousness probably has some survival value. If a person had access to all the information in the universe at any time in the past or future, it might be difficult to concentrate on surviving here and now.

One of the early discussions of this model of consciousness can be found in the introduction to "Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death"
by Frederic William Henry Myers


http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=title%3A%28human%20personality%29%20AND%20creator%3A%28myers%29

In the sun's spectrum, and in stellar spectra, are many dark lines or bands, due to the absorption of certain rays by certain vapours in the atmosphere of sun or stars or earth. And similarly in the range of spectrum of our own sensation and faculty there are many inequalities permanent and temporary of brightness and definition. Our mental atmosphere is clouded by vapours and illumined by fires, and is clouded and illumined differently at different times. The psychologist who observes, say, how his reaction-times are modified by alcohol is like the physicist who observes what lines are darkened by the interposition of a special gas. Our knowledge of our conscious spectrum is thus becoming continually more accurate and detailed.

But turning back once more to the physical side of our simile, we observe that our knowledge of the visible solar spectrum, however minute, is but an introduction to the knowledge which we hope ultimately to attain of the sun's rays. The limits of our spectrum do not inhere in the sun that shines, but in the eye that marks his shining. Beyond each end of that prismatic ribbon are ether-waves of which our retina takes no cognisance. Beyond the red end come waves whose potency we still recognise, but as heat and not as light. Beyond the violet end are waves still more mysterious, whose very existence man for ages never suspected, and whose intimate potencies are still but obscurely known. Even thus, I venture to affirm, beyond each end of our conscious spectrum extends a range of faculty and perception, exceeding the known range, but as yet indistinctly guessed. The artifices of the modern physicist have extended far in each direction the visible spectrum known to Newton. It is for the modern psychologist to discover artifices which may extend in each direction the conscious spectrum as known to Plato or to Kant. The phenomena cited in this work carry us, one may say, as far onwards as fluorescence carries us beyond the violet end. The X rays of the psychical spectrum remain for a later age to discover.

Zetetic_chick said...

The super-psi vs. the survivalist interpretation of the data is an interesting debate.

My current opinion is that, regarding some cases of afterlife evidence, the super-psi hypothesis seems to be very non-parsimonious, in the sense we have to assume many ad hoc ideas to make it work, when the survival interpretation account for it in a simpler way.

As an example, let's see the cases of so-called materialization mediumship.

For the purposes of this example, let's assume the data is real (i.e no fraudulent or product of trickery).

In such case, it seems very hard to explain the following evidence (facts) with super-psi:

1)The spirit has a physical (ectoplasmic) body.

2)His physical body (when materialized) is very similar to the body on earth.

3)It has the same personality traits and memories that the supposed real personality on earth

4)Some of the information given by him is ignored by the medium and the assistents to the séances (but known by the deceased).

5)The spirit has intelligent answers to the questions being asked. This is not an static answer, but a normal conversation for several minutes.

All the above facts (provided we accept them) are consistent with the idea that we're actually talking with a real person (personality), the same personality of the deceased. Hence, with the person who has survived death.

Can the above facts be explained by super-psi? It's possible, but you will have to pose several ad hoc scenarios to make it work. You'll have tu multiply your conjetures to give it plausibility.

For example, when you talk by phone with a friend, you recognize him because 1)He has the same voice of your friend; 2)His personality is the same; 3)He says to you things that only your friend knows; 4)He gives you information previously discussed with him in the real life, that make sense for your, etc.

The above facts strongly suggest the person on the phone is actually your friend (this is the simpler and parsimonious explanation, and the one we take it in our daily lives), not an actor; or a product of your psi powers; or of your imagination, or implants by aliens. (Such interpretations aren't impossible, after all, maybe it was only a product of your imagination... or an experiment by aliens; but the point is the they are very improbable for account to the above facts in a parsimonious manner)

In my opinion, the existence of psi effects in cases of afterlife data is not a reason to think the whole phenomenon is a product of psi. Instead, I think spirits (when not limited to a physical body) have better psi-like abilities. And this explain why we see some psi manifestations on cases suggestive of an afterlife.

I know the problem is more complex and sophisticated, but my idea is that is hard to argue that super-psi is more parsimonious than the survival hypothesis to account for the facts and data supporting the afterlife interpretation.

Also, in the cases where psi seems to be more parsimonious, it often doesn't account for all the relevant facts. And it is another argument against super-psi.

I agree with Titus Rivas when he says, about reincarnation evidence "Similarly, although ESP appears to be a more parsimonious hypothesis, it doesn't satisfactorily explain those cases that defy normal hypotheses. In contrast, reincarnation does fulfill both conditions. Finally, the author mentions some topics for further research, which go beyond a mere demonstration of reincarnation"

http://www.geocities.com/athanasiafoundation/reincarnationresearch.html

By the way, I wouldn't rely too much in NDEs to support the afterlife interpretation, since it's open to some objections mentioned by Dean and other researchers.

I'm not saying NDEs don't support the afterlife; only that maybe, to convince supporters of super-psi, we should use a more strong type of evidence that put the super-psi hypothesis against a corner (making it improbable).

Super-psi is a good theoretical possibility worth of considering for the sake of an in-depth examination of the problem; but it is not, in my opinion, the best explanation for the best evidence of an afterlife.

Dave Smith said...

> I'll have to look up Stanford's PMIR model. Are there any on-line references you recommend?


Unfortunately I can't find any online papers on his model. If you can get hold of them, the original paper is:

Stanford, R.G. An experimentally testable model for spontaneous psi events. I. Extrasensory events. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, Jan 1974, p34-58.

And a later one:

Stanford, R.G. Toward reinterpreting psi events. JASPR, July 1978, p197-215

anonymous said...

"We know a little about what is possible via conscious psi. With unconscious psi I expect that we are capable of far more. If "deep mind" is not tightly located within individual bodies, and separation is an illusion (which is in general what I think psi implies), then I don't see why an appropriately talented person could intentionally embody another personality and "become" them sufficiently to convince others that they are, or at least are in touch, with that personality."

What does it mean to embody another personality?

Ian Stevenson distinguishes between knowledge "that" and knowledge "how" in this article:


Survival or Super-Psi?: Interchange Responses

http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_06_2_braude.pdf

I think he is saying psi can give you knowledge about something but not necessarily a learned skill. You might be able to use psi to give the music notation for a symphony, but psi won't help you play first violin.

Do you have any thoughts on that question?

One might consider xenoglossy evidence of survival if a medium, or child remembering a past life, demonstrated skill using a language they otherwise had no opportunity to learn.

Other examples might be playing musical instruments as D.D. Home was reported to do by Crookes:

Researches into the Phenomena of Spiritualism


http://www.survivalafterdeath.org.uk/books/crookes/researches/contents.htm

Thanks,

anonymous said...

I think survival is a more convincing explanation than super-psi when you consider all the evidence but it is interesting to study the history of psychical research because the super-psi hypothesis did make sense up to a certain point.

The early psychical researchers had reason to believe that the unconscious mind could create "personalities" and that the unconscious had psychic powers. They knew of multiple personality disorders and they knew that under hypnosis people could be induced to invent personalities. They knew telepathy was real. They knew that crisis appiritions occured for living people in danger and not just for people near death.

Therefore the early psychical researchers had ample reason to believe that trance mediumship might be explained by the medium creating alternate personalities and using psychic powers like telepathy to obtain information about deceased people.

Poltergeist phenomena, in some cases, seems to be associated with a living person. This, along with what is known about crisis appiritions, seemes to suggest that that a living person could be responsible for physical mediumship including materialization mediumship.

When the early psychical researchers studied a medium like Mrs. Piper who in trance, could tell of things she would not be able to know in a normal state of consciousness, they knew there was some psychic phenomena occuring. When they found on certain occasions the "spirit" would only tell things correctly that were known to the sitters, this seemed to suggest the medium was using telepathy and generating personalities herself. But sometimes the medium would be able to tell of things unknown to the sitters, so they wondered if in those cases the medium was getting things telepathically from people outside the room somewhere else in the world.

Eventually Richard Hodgson, who was the main investigator of Mrs. Piper, came to believe in survival. The best instances of Mrs. Piper's mediumship seemed to him to be genuine suriving personalities because of so many little touches that to accept they were due to the unconscious mind of the medium seemed to stretch credulity too far to. These touches extended beyond simply characteristics, mannerisms and patterns of speech of the individual spirits. It included misunderstandings, and confusions, of the type you get when you are interacting with real people. In addition, the control spirits for Mrs. Piper changed over time and the later ones were better at explaining the difficulties spirits experienced communicating through a medium, explaining some of the seeming failures of mediumship, and were better able to control the sittings to produce more accuracy in the readings.


More information about the mediumship of Mrs. Piper can be found in:

Michael Sage: "Mrs. Piper & the Society for Psychical Research"

http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/19376

A FURTHER RECORD OF OBSERVATIONS OF CERTAIN PHENOMENA OF TRANCE by Richard Hodgson L.L.D. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research Vol. XIII. 1898, p 284 - 582

http://books.google.com/books?id=5dTNAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA284&dq=editions:LCCN09022954&lr=&output=html

Later evidence from the cross correspondences, reincarnations studies, NDE's and other phenomena seem to me to make the survival hypothesis much more reasonable than super-psi.

However, I find the history of psychical research facinating. In its early days, it was the first time that scientists started to examine whether or not psychic abilities were real. They had no previous work to start from. They began by looking at basic phenomena like telepathy and mesmerism. They collected anecdotes of apparitions. In time they worked their way up to the question of survival of consciousness. The personalities involved in early psychical research included Nobel prize winning scientists such as the Marie Curie, Pierre Curie, Charles Richet, John William Strutt, and other brilliant scientist like Sir William Crookes, and Sir Oliver Lodge, and leading psychologists like William James and Frederic Myers. To me it seems like it was a unique time in history, in a way similar to the time when the US was formed by the founding fathers. A group of highly intelligent people were, by good fortune, in the right place at the right time to do something unique in history.

Tor said...

On Tart's book (The end of materialism)I've read about on third of it now and find it to be both good and interesting.

I just finished reading Tart's opinion on the quantum take on psi (he see,s to be mildly skeptical of it). Although I agree with him when it comes to always putting the data first, I do think we have to dabble with quantum mechanics. I do not think this explains away or reduces anything about our minds or psi. The quantum universe, which is the best model we have so far, is not causally closed and needs some additional input to be able to exist as real (not just potential). In fact, aspects of the mind like intention and attention, may just be the additional processes that are not described in the physical universe (or derives from it) but are needed for it to exist (as Stapp argues well for without ever mentioning psi). We then end up with a psycho-physical universe, which could just as well be called a spiritual-physical universe.

Dean, have you talked to Tart about this? I would interpret your quantum experiment (and also the GCP) as pointing to just these additional spiritual aspects of our reality, and how they interact with abstract quantum level to create the "real" world we live in.

Tor

Jime said...

I've just published (with the author's permission) a very long paper by Neal Grossman on super-ESP:

http://subversivethinking.blogspot.com/2009/05/neal-grossman-on-super-esp-or-super-psi.html

It has the format of a dialogue between Grossman and Plato and Socrates.

This paper has not been available online until now.

Much food for thought in that paper.

Enjoy.

Patrick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patrick said...

Dean, do you think you'd ever want to try replicating the Bieschel and Schwartz triple-blind study?

Dean Radin said...

> Dean, do you think you'd ever want to ...

There are many things I'd like to do, including experiments with mediums.

But society is conflicted when it comes to studying controversial or taboo topics, so funding is scarce to nonexistent and thus precious little can be done.

Patrick said...

What if you received some support/funding and/or worked with the University of Arizona?

I'm sure the university would be happy to support somebody other than Bieschel and Schwartz for the purpose of having independent replication (or the purpose of *attempting* independent replication)

If you replicated their triple blind findings, then it would become even harder for people to allege fraud. That would be a great thing.

- Pat

Dean Radin said...

> I'm sure the university would be happy to support somebody

If only it were so. I'm not aware of any university, anywhere in the world, or at any time in history, that has funded mediumship research. Even when private donors have offered funds, fewer than a handful of universities have been willing to accept those funds.

The strength of the taboo against studying these questions cannot be overstated.

anonymous said...

" I'm not aware of any university, anywhere in the world, or at any time in history, that has funded mediumship research."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seybert_Commission
The Seybert Commission was a group of faculty at the University of Pennsylvania who in 1884-1887 investigated a number of respected spiritualist mediums, uncovering fraud or suspected fraud in every case that they examined.
...
An ardent believer in Spiritualism, Henry Seybert left in his will funds for the establishment of an endowed chair in Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. As a condition to this bequest, he required that the University set up a commission to investigate "all systems of Morals, Religion, or Philosophy which assume to represent the Truth, and particularly of Modern Spiritualism."


The uncovered suspected fraud?

Based in my understanding of the history of the period, there were frauds and genuine mediums at that time. I have to wonder if they really sought out genuine mediums or were objective or competent in their investigation.


From Ghost Hunters by Deborah Blum

IN THE SPRING OF 1857, a tired and cranky team of scientists made its
way from Harvard University to upstate New York, determined to try yet
again to rub some of the superstition out of modern culture.

They'd been sent to investigate claims that two sons of a Buffalo police
officer were able to summon spirits into a theatrical performance.

... the
editor of the Boston Courier offered $500 to any medium who could really
produce spirit phenomena. His one condition was the results had to be
verified by Harvard University. The university administrators preferred to
take the higher road of scoffing at such productions. But they also believed
that if some reputable professors took on the job, spiritualism could be easily
exposed and, they hoped, eliminated. Over the protests of the designated
investigators, Harvard's president sent his professors to Buffalo.

Dean Radin said...

My comment was responding to the idea that a university would self-fund a research program on survival. That has never occurred anywhere, to my knowledge. Private funds donated to universities for this purpose is another matter.

Even so, the U Penn case just adds to the sorry story of funds donated to other universities, like Stanford and Harvard, which were specifically provided for psychical research. All of those funds were eventually usurped by psychology departments for more conventional studies. In most or perhaps all of these cases, shifting of funds away from the donor's wishes was illegal, but nevertheless it happened.

The only remaining academic endowment I'm aware of (in the United States) that is focused on survival research is the Division of Personality Studies at the University of Virginia, which is still going strong.

Academic support for various forms of psi research in the UK is far better than in the US.

anonymous said...

"If plain old vanilla psi provides us with an ability to gain information about virtually anything, independent of the usual constraints of space and time, then in principle that same ability can provide all of the evidence used in arguments for survival (possibly excluding physical effects, as that type of evidence is less certain in my view)."

One form of evidence of survival is that the characteristics of the communication through trance mediums vary with the communicator independently of who the sitters are. Some spirits are never good at communicating, some are better at communicating names than other spirits. During otherwise successful sittings a spirit will come through that has trouble communicating. Spirits have trouble communicating for the first few times but increase in proficiency with practice. Communicators usually seem to be confused for the first few days after the death of the person they claim to be. Sometimes stray thoughts seem to be communicated through the trance medium. These thoughts are always from the spirits as if they are having difficulty with the communication mechanism and transmitting private thoughts inadvertently. These thoughts are of subjects that would be of concern to the spirit but not the sitter or medium. Spirits of young children recently deceased seem to have clearer memories of early childhood than spirits of those who died in childhood many years previously. Spirits of children recently deceased communicate more clearly than spirits of adults recently deceased.

I discuss this in more detail on my blog:


http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2009/05/further-record-of-observations-of.html

It is based on Richard Hodgson's 1898 report in the Proceedings of the SPR:


http://books.google.com/books?id=5dTNAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA284&dq=editions:LCCN09022954&lr=&output=html

Energy said...

I would add numerology most definitely to your list. There are so many advantages: it's numerical and lends itself to computer analysis; it can be monitored in terms of discrete categories such as income or wealth, happiness, health, or psychological traits; and can be correlated with factors such as birth names or birth path.

The most important part is that any particular system of numerology is in principle falsifiable.

Names are known to be unusually statistically significant in non-obvious ways. Check out this study summary here:

http://www.energybodyways.com/blog/names-highest-paid-executives/

There is a link therein to the full study. It shows that common names with no real rationale, even though equally distributed in the population, such as James, don't have the same representation as Steve, Donald, or Richard among top CEO's.

The only problem with numerology is which system to follow, what to correlate it with, and of course doing the work and getting the funding.

Some little known systems of numerology are said to be ancient and scientific, are in theory falsifiable, and very mathematical (such as Yantric numerology).