Thursday, June 11, 2009

I remember

Ah, the righteous arrogance of youth. I remember what it was like to feel intellectually superior to my college professors, many of whom seemed to be dullards who understood nothing. I grew out of that phase when I started to apply genuine skepticism, not just to others' beliefs, but to my own.

Here is a good example of a young person who fits the profile of adolescent certainty (some people never grow out of this stage). Once a Christian, she lost her faith, followed by a commonly observed flip-flop -- she became a fervent atheist.

Atheists, especially young ones in the midst of existential crisis, do not yet appreciate that their strong stance against religious faith is just faith of another color (i.e., scientism). They are also unable to distinguish between beliefs based on empirically testable ideas vs. beliefs based on faith. And like most true believers in scientism, they become very concerned that one might conduct experiments where the underlying mechanisms are not yet understood. I wish I could say that most students grow out of an over-reliance on the certainty of prevailing theories, but as I mentioned in my previous post, unfortunately many don't.

Her angst centered on an experiment studying precognition. Impossible! Violates natural law! Must be pseudoscience! With that attitude, any evidence offered, however obtained, can only be fraud, or worse.

Of course precognition is not prohibited by physics. The laws of classical and quantum mechanics are time symmetric, and there are many serious articles (this link has just a few examples) available on the topic of retrocausation, which is far more interesting and complicated than a superficial scan might suggest.

Besides my own books (The Conscious Universe is finally in paperback!), I recommend Larry Dossey's new book to get a feel for the art and science of precognition.


But doing one's homework can be so taxing....

I remember the sanctimonious pride that accompanies feelings of certainty, and I'm glad I outgrew it.

77 comments:

Dogmatic said...

It baffles me that someone can rant that long on a subject referring to it as 'pseudoscience', admit that they haven't looked at the actual data for psi, and then call themselves rational.

For my own good mental health, I try not to read this type of stuff too much and definitely not to respond to it too often. I think a lot of people are overly concerned with being perceived as intellectual and rational rather than actually being so. Many look to scientists for that need to fit in an intellectual community and they end up as nothing more than dogs attacking whatever isn't 'accepted' science.

Tor said...

I read her post. She seems to be in a state of emotional turmoil about anything not scientistic. Must be painful to live like that. Getting too attached to any particular theoretical view of how the world "must" work isn't healthy. One just becomes neurotic by it.

There will always be things that don't make sense, even though they are true. This is especially true as we are struggling inside a faltering paradigm. We are still far away from getting a detailed and complete picture of the puzzle of reality, and probably will be for a long long time.

Tor

FB said...

"god is so dead ... I am choosing to mainly turn my hand to god's unreasonable, but still living, corollaries."

Corollaries?

# a practical consequence that follows naturally; "blind jealousy is a frequent corollary of passionate love"
# (logic) an inference that follows directly from the proof of another proposition

Propositions can't be dead, but beings might be (even Supreme Beings).

So there can be corollaries to the belief that god exists, but there are no corollaries to a dead being, whether divine or otherwise.

This is, once again, the Robert Graves approach. I find it necessary in the face of such writing.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to mainly turn my hand to that pile of infinitives that needs splitting.

Jeff said...

Dr. Michael Shermer comes to mind.

White Rabbit said...

Dean,

You're a professional scientist, and a great researcher. But your approach to public relations and your efforts to 'subvert the dominant paradigm' I find questionable at times. Why would you bother, for example, to single out a random college student to publicly bash on your blog? ...

If your intent is to show that PSI effects are real, certainly you realize that there are better ways of going about doing it than bashing the current scientific viewpoint, or random college students. Skeptics are converted on an individual basis when they see results that don't correspond with their model of reality. Something like a belief in PSI isn't going to be pushed on a massive scale. It's going to slowly creep in through the back doors and spread from individual to individual.

You should find an experiment or product that clearly demonstrates PSI that the average Joe can perform on a repeatable basis and show others how to do. Your idea of a quantum light switch, for example, would be great. If everyone had a quantum light switch, it would be difficult for a skeptic to say that PSI isn't real, because the average Joe can prove that it is real simply by pulling out his or her quantum light switch.

You mentioned in an interview that the effect size you're seeing for the double slit intention experiment has been higher than for the REG intention experiments. How much higher is this? Would it be possible to rig a small double slit quantum device up to a light switch or light bulb? Would this be a feasible thing to do?

In other words, no amount of experiments or statistics in parapsychology is going to convert the skeptical community. What you need is a simple experiment that the average Joe can do on a fairly repeatable basis. Perhaps you should spend more time doing research and thinking of such an experiment, and less time using your blog to bash random college students.

Just a thought...

Sparrowhawk said...

How do you seem to know so much about her? I read her blog often and she doesn't strike me as having a lot of "angst". She's intelligent and inquisitive. And you'll notice if you read her post that rather than get angry and immediately start screaming "pseudoscience!" about all this, she had a very friendly and mature email correspondence with the researcher.

Ah, the wisened condescension of age. I wonder what it will be like to be able to flippantly dismiss younger people, many of whom seem to be upstarts who question everything. Hopefully I can avoid that phase by remembering how to apply genuine courtesy, not just to myself, but to others.

Dogmatic said...

Here are just a few lines from her blog post:

'I'm an atheist. I champion the existent and fight irrationality, pseudoscience and paranormal claims wherever they show themselves.'

'I was confused because everything in the first half screamed, "pseudoscience!"'

'(As you can see, somehow the word "subsequent" had not sunk in yet.) I tried to be as polite as possible, after all, a UCSB professor couldn't really be studying this, could he?'

'After reading this, I just felt sad, and sorry for him. It seems like he really wants to believe in this and that he really believes that there is psychic phenomena.'

'Parapsychology researchers in the past have often manipulated their data thus because they believe it is justified because the phenomena exists and they are just tweaking their results, but other people have had results too, so it has to be true.'


No angst huh? No misrepresentation? This kind of material deserves to be called out. It doesn't matter who is making the claim. She serves as an example of many who react to parapsychology this way and calling her out is not harmful nor wrongdoing on Dean's part.

"I read her blog often and she doesn't strike me as having a lot of "angst". She's intelligent and inquisitive."

I'm not sure what you're reading then. My view is the exact opposite.

Dean Radin said...

> better ways of going about doing it than bashing the current scientific viewpoint, or random college students

Bash the current scientific viewpoint? What I react to is not science per se but expressions of scientism, a misplaced certainty in what is currently understood, which in turn drives what is viewed as legitimate science and what gets funded. No funds = no research.

In any case, you misinterpreted my post. I have nothing against this student, indeed I said I remember what it was like to be that student, at least in terms of her certainty about things she doesn't understand. I am concerned about such attitudes precisely because I can sympathize with them.

As for simple, repeatable psi experiments that anyone can do? It's a laudable goal, but I'm involved in other things right now. Rupert Sheldrake has specialized in designing these. There are plenty of very clever variations that cost nothing to try. You can also buy a Psyleron RNG and do your own PK experiments.

The only thing that prevents people from conducting their own experiments is the attitude that these phenomena shouldn't be studied because we can't explain in advance how such phenomena work, or fear of ridicule, or both.

I feel motivated to comment about these things, even when written by students, because these same attitudes are also rife among many adults who should know better.

White Rabbit said...

>"In any case, you misinterpreted my post."

Perhaps this is the case. It can be fairly difficult at times to read the minds of people over the internet. ;)

My point isn't so much about this specific post, but that your general tactic against scientism is doomed to fail. You don't promote a new paradigm by attacking an old one. You promote a new paradigm by promoting it! Let the old paradigm fall away.

The taboo of psi doesn't exist because of scientism anyway. The taboo of psi exists because of rigid and fearful thinking. It exists because people are afraid of the unknown. People are afraid of being wrong, or of having to let go of their beliefs, or of how others will judge them.

If you must attack something, then attack people's fear. Help them understand the research that you've done, and the results you have seen.

How much of your research is free and open to the general public? How much of it is buried in some technical journal somewhere that you have to pay to subscribe to?

If you walk up to ten strangers, how many of them would know an easy, repeatable experiment that can conclusively test for PSI effects?

Outside of the Psyleron Regs, how many cheap products are on the market that make constructive use of PSI effects?

This is why I bring up the quantum light switch. If you can make a useful, mass marketable device that uses PSI to operate, such as a quantum light switch, you will have all the funding you will ever need to do your research, and then some. The market will drive the research.

To make a long story short, you're a trained scientist, and many people consider you to be the leader in your field. Whenever any scientific minded person brings up PSI and evidence, you're the first name that comes up in their conversation.

Personally criticizing other people who are trapped in the scientism belief system is just a waste of time. Certainly you can find better things to do...

Like creating that quantum light switch. ;)

Dean Radin said...

> You don't promote a new paradigm by attacking an old one....

I am not attacking science. I spend most of my waking hours doing science. I'm strongly committed to it.

What I am against is scientism -- a faith-based contraction of science that assumes current theories are complete and thus only questioned by heretics. I have no interest in being a heretic, but I do have an interest in exploring the scientific frontiers and in questioning assumptions. So when someone proposes that what I do is anything other than normal science, I feel obliged to challenge that opinion.

> If you can make a useful, mass marketable device ...

Obviously. And I and others are working on it.

White Rabbit said...

>"Obviously. And I and others are working on it."

I see. After reading your last comment, it occurs to me that I may have misjudged your intention for this post. I think I understand a little better about where you're coming from. Thanks for the clarification. :)

Just out of curiosity, can you comment any further on what kind of products you and others are working on at the moment?

Gareth said...

This is a fascinating time to be alive.

I have a friend who refuses to believe that people have lucid dreams. I (make myself) have them quite regularly. This person is also terrified of ghosts, but does not believe in them. My father is a staunch atheist, yet holds many superstitious beliefs (don't walk under ladders, touch wood and whistle etc) that he takes quite seriously.

I'm agnostic about everything, but I strongly support what you're doing, Dean. I no longer hide my Psi books when my lefty friends come over.

And I'm not afraid to die into nothingness, for what it's worth.

Kazim said...

A longer response to this post can be found at The Atheist Experience.

Enfant Terrible said...

Dean,

I think you started a fire...

http://atheistexperience.blogspot.com/2009/06/ah-righteous-arrogance-of-crackpots.html

Don't worry, it is just more arrogance.

Best wishes.

Dean Radin said...

Just confirms my original post. Arrogance plus uninformed certainty is a highly combustible mixture.

Bharat said...

Presumably a "crackpot" is anyone this person doesn't agree with, "psuedoscience" is something Dawkins doesn't like and "rational" is whatever Dennett tells you it is - never mind the awkward fact that the "meme" concept such people heavily promote is psuedoscience by almost every imagineable criteria. Yup, the refreshing aroma of reason wafts my way.

Oh, the joys of YouTube intellectuals and MTV rationalists. I guess that these people are scientific and philosophic materialists? If so, perhaps they would be kind enough to explain to us what matter is. I wish them a great deal of luck on that one, they'll really, really need it.

Tor said...

Bharat said:

I guess that these people are scientific and philosophic materialists? If so, perhaps they would be kind enough to explain to us what matter is. I wish them a great deal of luck on that one, they'll really, really need it.

Oh come one Bharat! That one is easy.. Matter is made of small billiard balls ;-)

Tor

antiskeptic said...

Be careful here, Dean. It is possible to be anti-religious, or even strongly anti-religious, and still have a reasonable level of open-mindedness about religion. (as we should probably all have about even the craziest and most offensive ideas) Not all atheists are like this dopey girl. As well, you should be open to the possibility that some atheists might strongly dislike religion, not because they have a deep-seeded arrogance of faith, (like this girl) but because they have good reason to believe that religion really is that bad, or that it really is very unlikely that any god or gods exist. Somebody like Sam Harris comes to mind. He is strongly anti-religious, but he also has stated in the past that he is in favor of paranormal research.

Dean Radin said...

I'm not sure it's possible to be both strongly anti-religious and maintain open-mindedness about religion in the institutional sense. Such positions seem contradictory to me.

But I do agree that reasons for choosing atheism are many and varied, including sober assessments of abuses of power by religious institutions (of course the same can be said of any system of power).

antiskeptic said...

No, it isn't contradictory. I can say that I really, strongly believe something, but still say that there's always a chance that I could be wrong. I mean, it sounds contradictory, but it's really not. Maybe the level of open-mindedness needs to be lower when you strongly believe something, but it should always be there, even if it's at a lower level than the level of open-mindedness that I have for something that I don't have strong feelings for. It's also really uncomfortable for many people to seriously consider a possibility like, say, Watson was right and black people are intellectually inferior to white people, but I think that it is important to have that reasonable level of open-mindedness even for offensive and crazy-sounding ideas, even if it is at a lower level than for other beliefs. I mean, after all, we could always be wrong about everything...

K.L.Wright said...

That this girl is trading one dogmatic system of belief for another isn't really surprising, as it demonstrates another example of the all-too-human need for a sense of certainty, a bulwark of "reality" which can be used to counteract inherent human insecurity. People holding a Christian faith have had a particular difficulty with reconciling the experiences or observations of pain and suffering with the precepts of their religion. From at least St. Augustine onward, Christian philosophers have struggled vainly to understand the former through the filter of the latter. The same can be said of believers in Scientism, who systematically reject empirical observations which don't conform to their dogmas, known as "theories". Dean is only too right in observing that so many people never progress beyond this point. The desire for certainty still drives the vehicle of belief. Only the vehicle changes. But, as an experimentalist, Dr. Radin realizes the primacy of observation over theory, the foundation of the empirical scientific method. Too many scientists and adherents of Scientism (whether knowingly or not) make the too common mistake of not recognizing the assumptions on which their beliefs are based, let alone questioning the validity of those assumptions. Time and experience may temper this girl's dogmatism, or may reinforce it. She may become introspective enough to recognize and question her assumptions, or she may not. But I doubt any verbal argument alone will alter her positions.

Goonch said...

That is a lot of arrogance and condescension hiding behind such a pretty face. And I don't mean you, Dean. ;)

I'd like to do a word count for the number of times she says the word 'pseudoscience' in all of her posts.

Anyway, anything you say is going to come across as some sort of a conspiracy theory or 'will to believe' nonsense. Especially since they seem to think the mind-body question is a settled issue.

David Bailey said...

I do think that a lot of people have been badly burned by religion - in its more extreme forms it can really mess about with people's lives.

When someone escapes from all that, the release can seem almost magical, and they over react.

The more subtle recognition that religion is probably a huge distortion of the truth, just as materialism is also a distortion of the truth, takes much longer.

LOL - I have been through all the stages!

Eva.ku said...

David, I have been through all the stages as well! Thank goodness I got them out of the way before my 19th birthday thanks to the help of books by people like Radin and Tart and others.
Through the whole process though I never got sucked into a fully materialistic mind-set, but I was SO anti-religious that it just about pushed me to that point. I was so close the the edge when I finally encountered people who were studying things I had been intensely interested in all through my teenage years but thought had no research or evidence to back it up.
I only wish other people could seek it out and try to be open minded about it!

Goonch said...

You're definitely right David. At a young age I never took to religion and most of what I was told was in a manner that portrayed religion as not only terrible for people but wrong.

I bought the 'you're nothing but a pack of neurons' stuff because a lot of smart people were saying it and few were contesting it in scientific settings. You're painted a picture of what the world looks like but never told what is wrong with that picture. I was never told a single thing about paradigms and it was never even let on that there might be contrary evidence to what I was being taught in classrooms. I wouldn't call it indoctrination but I was definitely not getting the whole story.

I was able to use my accepting of materialism and atheism as an intellectual security blanket. Yeah, that religious stuff sounds nice but I'm not a weak minded person, I'm following the truth afterall!

The funny thing was that I had had numerous psychic experiences and never made the connection that it really doesn't make sense from that materialistic point of view. Its difficult for some people to accept that something might be real if it isn't accepted mainstream. You may have to risk your reputation looking into it and maybe more defending it. Now I just kind of watch and see where this heads. I'm not convinced parapsychology can get anywhere mainstream wise until creationists stop threatening and the scientific community stops digging in its heels (and getting dogmatic) because of it.

I don't envy you your quest, Dean. ;)

Andrew Ryan said...

"I remember what it was like to feel intellectually superior to my college professors... I grew out of that phase "

It is quite possible to make your point without irrelevant ad hominem speculation about the other person's motivations or intellectual deficiencies.

You're basically saying "Yes, I remember once thinking like you, when I was less enlightened". This patronising tack sounds bad whether it's an atheist saying "Yes, I remember when I was a religious fool like you", or a Christian saying "Yes, I used to be an arrogant atheist like you.".

The former still comes across like a fool, and the latter still comes across as arrogant.

That you adopt this approach whilst calling HER arrogant is the height of irony. She's still a student - what's your excuse?

Book Surgeon said...

I have to come down on the side of the commentarians who've been admonishing you that this is a waste of your keystrokes, Dean. Young people bathe in misplaced certainty daily; we all did it. But they don't wield the influence of older journalists, scholars or scientists. To my mind, those should be your targets.

As for the comments about religious belief and awareness of the reality of psi, intentionality and other phenomena branded "fringe" or "psuedo," wending one's way between the two can be tricky. I for one was, not too many years ago, the definitive arrogant atheist convinced all paranormal was woo. Then I had an experience that, while it did not compel me to believe in an anthropomorphic deity (something I still consider to be a transparently human invention), it did have two profound effects on me. One, it shot down my sense of arrogant, self-congratulatory certainty. Two, it made me truly dig into the evidence for the paranormal and I was shocked not only at what I found but that if I had not taken it upon myself to look, the evidence would never have reached me.

Now I describe myself as a "spiritual agnostic," someone still unconvinced about the idea of a deity, but convinced that there is much about mind, matter and consciousness that is real yet which we do not understand. Where I once craved certainly, I now relish the mystery and discovery. I still maintain scientific rigor, but also don't condemn based on my bias (or at least try not to). As I said, it's a tough balancing act.

The difficulty of maintaining that balance becomes clear when I talk to people about my interest in post-mortem survival and how I think it's quite plausible, if not ironclad, based on the evidence. The first comment/question is almost always something like, "But you're not religious, are you?" Seems it's extremely difficult for most folks to decouple religion and survival or spirituality and the paranormal. Hence the terror of being perceived as credulous as exhibited by this young woman. We all face a monumental task in overcoming this.

Dean Radin said...

All these comments, some pro and some con, made me rethink why I posted this note. I almost always ignore rants about me, my work, parapsychology, etc.

In this case I was motivated by two sore points. First, the professor that the student wrote about with "pity," for conducting a parapsychology experiment, is a prominent professor whom I know. He is very well respected in his field, he conducts ingenious, impeccable research on a wide range of topics (and has also obtained positive evidence for psi), but most importantly, he displays great courage by countering the academic prejudice that this student portrayed so well in her post.

So I was reacting to an attitude that continues to prevent this type of research from taking place. As I've mentioned before, fewer than 1% of the world's academic centers have a single faculty member engaged in this type of work, and yet the majority of the world's population is interested in it. This is the sign of a massively powerful taboo, ironically sustained by scientists who have adopted the very same mode of thinking that withheld the development of modern science in the first place (i.e., doctrine trumps data, or in its modern form, theory trumps data). The irony is that this is an anti-scientific stance, and in my opinion it is also the principal threat to the continuing flourishing of science.

The second reason is that the professor recommended that she read my book, The Conscious Universe, to learn something about the topic. But as most college kids do today, rather than take the trouble to read a book, she found an online skeptical review and felt that that was sufficient. This concerns me because when it comes to complex, controversial topics, the "Wikipedia generation" is getting a distorted cartoon picture, and I don't see this problem improving any time soon.

Tor said...

Well, I for once think that what was written in the original post is well within the limits. Bloggs are after all most often used as a medium for expressions of thoughts, opinions and personal observations.

The saying "Storm in a teacup" comes to mind.

Tor

FB said...

"First, the professor that the student wrote about with "pity," for conducting a parapsychology experiment, is a prominent professor whom I know. He is very well respected in his field,"

If it's appropriate to ask, I would like to ask, "What is his field?" Is it psychology, neurology, biophysics?

I assume that because you haven't mentioned his name, it would be improper to ask, but I'd like to know which field he specializes in.

Thanks.

Book Surgeon said...

You know what might be a great response to all this? Get your professor colleague to publish some of his strongly positive psi results on this blog. It won't convince those who've already made up their minds, but it's a strong "OK, explain this!" to that same faction.

Dean Radin said...

His main concentration is social psychology. He'll publish the psi studies when he feels the time is right, and at that time I'm sure he'll aim for a big impact journal, not a blog!

Most of the mainstream academics I know who are conducting successful psi studies generally do not publish them, or even talk about them in public, because they are well aware of the taboo and the resulting hate mail they'll receive. So remaining quiet makes a great deal of sense.

Unfortunately it also creates a reverse filedrawer effect, in which rather than assuming that unpublished studies average to a null or slightly negative effect, we know that some of those studies are actually positive. This reduces the number of estimated "missing" studies from a meta-analysis and thus increases the evidence for psi.

Tor said...

Dean Radin said:

..because they are well aware of the taboo and the resulting hate mail they'll receive.

Hate mail??

Ok.. I guess it shouldn't surprise me. How many hate mails do you receive a year Dean?

People have serious problems if they don't have anything better to do with their spare time than send hate mail..

Tor

MikeTheInfidel said...

Quite simple to assert that you have numerous positive, unpublished studies. I have numerous positive, unpublished studies demonstrating that there is a lizard-man in my oven.

Get them past peer review, then we'll talk.

FB said...

"His main concentration is social psychology."

This is of interest, but I can't act on it immediately.

My first action is to prepare some reasoned basis for evaluating student input in the context of social psychology.

My second action is to evaluate the writings of the "Everything Else Atheist" according to the canons of social psychology. (If it turns out I can't do this personally, I would have to recruit a willing and able social psychologist.) I suspect that even a layman would be able to find some room for improvement in her texts.

This project is not directly relevant to parapsychology itself, but this kind of thing would be a useful function for the debunker-debunking squad. I hope such exercises would result in a better, more productive discussion environment.

Dean Radin said...

> Quite simple to assert that you have numerous positive, unpublished studies. I have numerous positive, unpublished studies demonstrating that there is a lizard-man in my oven...

In my books I cite perhaps 1,000 studies published in peer reviewed journals. The unpublished studies I referred to amount to perhaps two dozen.

Gareth said...

Read the books, Mike "The Infidel", and don't forget to baste the lizard man every 15 minutes or he'll dry out.

antiskeptic said...

No need to be an antagonistic jerk MikeTheInfidel. You really ought to take that to skeptic message boards. That's where it belongs.

FB said...

"People have serious problems if they don't have anything better to do with their spare time than send hate mail."

Some people who send hate-mail are just socially isolated and emotionally unpleasant. Such folks are usually clear on what they hate. Often that sort of phase is just temporary.

Other people, however, have a financial incentive to send hundreds of hate mail missives in the hopes that one or two will pay off with publicity, increased social standing, etc. Such folks have a conflict of interest impairing their self-perception -- they convince themselves that they hate anything that will fit the bill. For example, a motivational speaker who stands to garner lecture fees from anti-Communists can convince himself that he hates Communism, even though in fact he kisses a framed picture of Che Guevera every night before going to sleep with a well-thumbed copy of _Das_Kapital_.

In particular, people who make money by selling memberships to supposedly rationalist scoffer-clubs can convince themselves that they hate irrationality.

Jess Boldt said...

I wonder if, or how far the goal post will be moved in regards to the peer reviewed journal discussion.

David Bailey said...

Mike TheInfidel wrote: "Quite simple to assert that you have numerous positive, unpublished studies. I have numerous positive, unpublished studies demonstrating that there is a lizard-man in my oven."

That statement is obviously untrue, so what are we to make of the rest of your argument based on that!

Book Surgeon said...

Dean, if you want to have a go at some real arrogance and certainty, you might want to check out the comments about you on Paranormalia (http://www.paranormalia.com) under the piece entitled "Skeptics: more media savvy?". A jerk named Joseph G. Mitzen gets off some outrageous ad hominem shots on you that really call for a solid response.

Matt Colborn said...

This is a very familiar syndrome -- Robert Anton Wilson called it 'premature certainty.' A couple of years back, I had an exchange with one convert who refused to engage with me because he didn't speak to 'believers.'

I think that the labels 'believer' and 'skeptic' are actually very damaging to the serious study of anomalistics, primarily because the 'skeptics' have claimed a monopoly on being scientific and in the UK, tend to have a higher media profile than the practitioners of academic parapsychology.

See my guest blog here;

http://www.paranormalia.com/

And the latest entry in my blog;

http://cosmic-citizen.blogspot.com/

Dean Radin said...

> if you want to have a go at some real arrogance and certainty ...

Personal attacks are par for the course when dealing with emotional topics. I am free to express opinions on my blog, and the same is true for anyone else. These things shouldn't be taken so seriously.

The exception to my own advice is when I see someone I know attacked in a stupid or mean way. Then I'm more inclined to respond more forcefully, as illustrated by this post.

Book Surgeon said...

Understood, but to my journalist's mind, the gent's statements come very close to libelous, though the charge might not stick because it could be argued that you are a public figure.

C'est la psi, I suppose.

Patrick said...

Hi Dean, out of curiosity, do you meditate?

- Pat

Dean Radin said...

I have gone through periods with a daily practice, but more often now I meditate about once a week or when I feel the need.

FB said...

Here is a sample of Mitzen's prose: "One isn't "indoctrinated" into materialism/atheism; one *observes* materialism/atheism. It IS observed reality."

Atheism is, at best, a conclusion about reality, drawn from observed reality. Atheism is not reality because atheism is a subjective doctrine and reality is objective being.

Furthermore, some people, under some circumstances, *have* been indoctrinated into atheism. One example would be the state schools in the former USSR that inculcated atheist conformity without regard for truth or falsehood.

Given that Mitzen makes such easily spotted errors, I can't believe that replying to Mitzen is the most worthwhile use of any highly skilled person's time.

Matt Colborn said...

"One isn't "indoctrinated" into materialism/atheism; one *observes* materialism/atheism. It IS observed reality."

I've seen this claim a lot lately in atheist spaces on the net. It betrays an almost complete ignorance of the philosophy of science! (Or analytical philosophy, full stop.)

In the old days, even if I didn't agree, I genuinely thought that 'skeptics' really were more rational than other people -- I bought the hype. But my interactions and observations of skepticism have slowly taught me that they're no more rational than anyone else; and in some cases self-labelled skeptics seem as nutty as those they regulatory pillory.

This realization has been tremendously liberating for me. :-)

Enfant Terrible said...

Mr. Dean Radin,

Robert T. Carrol wrote a review of your book 'Entangled Minds'in february 2009:

http://www.skepdic.com/refuge/entangledreview.html

He wrote also a review of your book 'The Counscious Universe':

http://www.skepdic.com/refuge/radin1.html

Some critics are really stupid, like this:

If you guess better than chance, that supports the psi hypothesis. If you don't guess better than chance, that also supports the psi hypothesis. Psi works both way, positive and negative. Rather than canceling each other out, they reinforce each other in what is called "a psi-differential response." What other scientific field would tolerate such nonsense?

Carrol ignore the psychological factor, if a person is a believer or a skeptic of psi that could make the guesses above or below chance. Despite this, I think some criticisms it would be good that you answer, like this:

In EM, he goes into some detail regarding Sheldrake's studies of the staring effect, and concludes with a typically inane statistic regarding the odds of getting the results by chance: "202 octodecillion to 1." As in CU, however, Radin ignores studies that found no staring effect, including one done in his own lab! He makes no mention of a study done by Marilyn Schlitz and Richard Wiseman that found nothing interesting in a staring experiment. Radin's name is even on the published paper, since it was done in his lab. (See Watt, C., Schlitz, M., Wiseman, R. & Radin, D. (2005). "Experimenter differences in a remote staring study," Proceedings of the 48th Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association, 256-260.

Well, I read the arcicle and it seems to me that Carrol is lying here. Wiseman did not found statistical difference against chance, but Schlitz did!

The participants' electrodermal activity (EDA) was continuously recorded throughout each session. Results revealed that the EDA of RW’s participants was not significantly different during ‘stare’ and ‘non-stare’ trials. In contrast, the EDA of MS’s participants was significantly higher in ‘stare’ than ‘non-stare’ trials.'

So, my question is: why you did not mention this experiment in your book 'Entangled Minds'?

Dean Radin said...

Mr. Carroll isn't a scientist, so perhaps he can be forgiven for making simple mistakes, and for not understanding statistics. I'd recommend this page

http://tinyurl.com/l3efyg

for a review of some of Carroll's opinions.

Regarding the staring effect studies, he confuses my analysis of Sheldrake's method, which involves conscious reports, and the DMILS method, which involves unconscious, psychophysiological measures. Many of the former studies were not lab-based studies and thus were not conducted under rigorously controlled conditions. Among the latter all were laboratory-based and very rigorously controlled.

The most recent study conducted by the Schlitz-Wiseman team, which I participated in, did not show any positive effects. That study was formally published after Stefan Schmidt's publication of a meta-analysis of DMILS studies, and it appeared after EM had gone to press. Its inclusion would not not have significantly influenced the conclusion of Schmidt's meta-analysis.

Some skeptics believe that I only report positive studies and ignore the rest. I would recommend that they read EM (and the The Conscious Universe) more closely, because I've discussed the "filedrawer effect" in detail and show that it is exceedingly implausible that the observed experimental effects can be explained by "missing" studies.

Sparrowhawk said...

I almost always ignore rants about me, my work, parapsychology, etc.

Then may I ask, given your apparent aversions to atheism and "scientism", how you came across EEA's blog? Were you googling your own name or something and decided it might be fun to tear a 22-year-old undergrad a new one in your free time?

Also, the latent sexism in some of your defenders in the comments is so thick I almost want to try to spread it onto my toast in the morning. Mmmm.

Dean Radin said...

> aversions to atheism ...

I have no problem with atheism or with any other belief. I do object to arguments promoting the idea that theoretical plausibility overrides data, because that is an anti-scientific stance.

I use Google alerts to automatically find words and themes I'm interested in.

Dave Smith said...

"I do object to arguments promoting the idea that theoretical plausibility overrides data, because that is an anti-scientific stance."

You hit the nail on the head. The plausibility argument is perhaps the most missued and abused argument among pseudosceptics.

MickyD said...

Well Dean,

I have been watching this thread with interest, and I think on balance you were right in bringing this to the fore. In addition to the reasons given, she represents the next generation of researchers and academics. Their opinions are critical, as they will be future policy makers and budget funders. Mis-representations of psi-research, especially good quality research of the kind she disparages, need to be shot down and exposed as a matter of priority, before these attitudes get embedded in the psyche of our future movers and shakers. So I congratulate these efforts.
Michael.

David Bailey said...

The plausibility argument always seems particularly weak because it ignores the history of physics. Physics has undergone a whole series of conceptual rethinks without invalidating previous experimental results.

It is also utterly circular! If we ignore data that is inconsistent with some theory T, how the hell will we ever know if T is wrong!

Patrick said...

>> decided it might be fun to tear a 22-year-old undergrad a new one in your free time? <<

How did Dean tear her a new one? He pointed out that she authoritatively (and condescendingly) asserted that there's no evidence for psi, despite a huge body of data. She made claims that were not just wrong, but inexcusably wrong.

Frankly, I'm tired of ill-informed people acting as if they're experts on psi research. Why should the girl's age excuse her?

- Pat

anonymous said...


http://pajamasmedia.com/richardfernandez/2009/06/30/bearly-true/




...contrary to all 19th and 20th Western expectations, religion is booming and not declining. If one were to add not only the numbers of new adherents to Christianity and Islam in the Third World, but the swarms of Western devotees to the cult of environmentalism then the numbers might be even more impressive. The problem with concluding from declining church attendance that the Age of Faith is over in the West, is that investigators may be measuring the wrong thing. What may actually be on the downward path is rationality.



Pseudo-skepticism and materialism are also examples of "irrational" religion on the rise.

The article links to this one:


http://newhumanist.org.uk/2042




"If you look at the world of social services, religion provides two things very well. One is you have people who are willing to make sacrifices and do things that it is hard to believe that secular-minded people would do. People like Pastor Richard Smith from the Faith Assembly of God in Philadelphia, who would just walk into crack houses where people were pointing guns at him and try and close them down. No rational person, let alone any social services bureaucrat, would do that sort of thing. He was absolutely convinced that God would protect him. He devoted his entire time to helping the poor, the homeless, drug-addicted people, with very few resources. His story is remarkable but I think it is multiplied in a lot of different places. If you took away the work that is done by the church in Philadelphia alone it would represent about half a billion dollars of social services cost a year."

Aaron said...

I have been strident religionist, strident spiritualist, strident atheist etc....

Now I just don't know what the hell to think. I am so disgusted by spiritualism that I prefer to call myself an atheist still.

Whatever the ultimate truth is concerning all this, it must take into consideration ALL of reality not just part of it. The truth must encompass all of these aspects:

1. Evolution is true. There is a human nature. It is messy, violent, and it has been constructed via the transference of genetic material based on survival qualities.

2. At least 90% of everything people call "spirituality" is either complete delusional nonsense, or a direct byproduct of the mammalian physical body (ie... you have women's spirituality and men's spirituality.. as if)

So it is perfectly natural that people like me are skeptical, when materialism does a good job of explaining how senseless the human experience is, and how intrinsically absurd it generally seems.

3. Psi is real. I add this assuming it is (personally I think it probably is, but am not entirely sure). But assuming it is, there may be an *extrinsic* value to human life that we can't be fully aware of now. In other words, if we take our experience with us afterward, then the intrinsic absurdity of a finite lifetime culminating in dementia and incontinence after decades of personal development and spiritual growth- may not be so utterly pointless afterall.

It is ENTIRELY up to Dean Radin to solve this question once and for all in his lifetime and save the world.

Just kidding. Or maybe not. I am rooting for you.

p.s. Does anyone know what the results to the IONS garden of dreams online experiments are? Have they ever been published?

nbtruthman said...

A belated response. I sympathize and partially agree with Aaron's post. First a couple of disagreements.

"There is a human nature. It is messy, violent, and it has been constructed via the transference of genetic material based on survival qualities."

Selective perception, focusing on the animal aspects of the human psyche.

"At least 90% of everything people call "spirituality" is either complete delusional nonsense, or a direct byproduct of the mammalian physical body (ie... you have women's spirituality and men's spirituality.. as if)"

An assertion is not evidence. Show some evidence.

"...materialism does a good job of explaining how senseless the human experience is, and how intrinsically absurd it generally seems."

Arguably true, but ignores the very real spiritual dimension of human experience. This dimension seems to indicate there is something fundamentally greater and higher than biological and physical existence.

I believe it is better to live in accordance with that possibility.
Unfortunately that inevitably requires a person who is not a "true believer" type to maintain a certain internal cognitive dissonance.

I believe it both sensible and reasonable to be both scientifically inclined and serious about seeking the spiritual.

I do share some of the writer's anguish over the apparent badness of human life. It is indeed very hard to reconcile this brute fact with spiritual notions. That is why a major cognitive dissonce seems to be required. That is uncomfortable.

It should be noted however, that no cognitive dissonance is required if the nature of the spiritual system is theorized to be where the spiritual "powers that be" do in fact exist in a realm beyond the physical, but where they are indifferent to human suffering. These may be conceived as souls, but human beings are living physical lives as humans not souls, instinctively identifying with their bodies and consisting of their personalities and memories going back to childhood. Soul purposes for human existence may be well and good, but it is humans that go through hell much of the time.

The bottom line is that there seems to be a spiritual reality, but it doesn't relieve the inherent badness of human existence.

Aaron said...

nbtruthman wrote:

"Arguably true, but ignores the very real spiritual dimension of human experience. This dimension seems to indicate there is something fundamentally greater and higher than biological and physical existence. "

Or, assuming Psi exists, it is not "higher" than our biology, merely part and parcel of the physical experience. It is possible that what people call a "soul" evolved to help keep the physical body alive. It is possible that the "soul" *is* a biological construct- VERY possible in my opinion. Most neuroscientists would immediately say so, and they have very good reasons to do so. I sure hope not though.

Troy said...

Aaron -
I don't think neuroscientists have as good a reason to believe mind = brain as they might suppose. Check out Irreducible Mind by Kelly and Kelly et al.

dawnow said...

"It is possible that what people call a "soul" evolved to help keep the physical body alive."

It is the very untenability of this notion that points toward metaphysical/spiritual concepts of a spiritual reality, "soul purposes", etc. NDEs, OBEs, experiences of "cosmic consciousness", at-death appearances and a host of other rare but real psychical phenomena have no physical survival value to the animal organism or selective advantage. Secondly, these phenomena contain very many veridical features that indicate that they, like consciousness itself, are irreducible to the material brain structures and neuronal activity. I would also, like the previous poster, refer you to the recent superb and voluminous study, Irreducible Mind.

Aaron said...

I recommend reading "phantoms in the brain" and "into the silent land". If someone can fall out of a tree, hit their head and lose their ability to feel love for the rest of their lives, but otherwise be normal...... or experience "cosmic consciousness" due to seizure like activity in the temporal lobe.... it raises tremendous questions about the nature of a soul.

It is important not to make the mistake of believing that things like OBE and NDE need to be explained by some evolutionary feat that developed for one specific purpose.... and if they can't be explained that way then jump to the conclusion that evolution had nothing to do with it. If you don't understand the problem with that line of thinking, you have a lot to look into on the neurological and evolutionary biology side of the argument. They are not stupid people. Most of them are materialists because they have really solid explanations and data, although I do believe there is heavy bias against psi for irrational reasons. I certainly find the materialism argument every bit as believable as the "we have souls" argument even though I want to believe we have souls.

Veridical sight is a mixed bag. There are just enough interesting accounts not to dismiss it, and there are loads of accounts and failed experiments to make you wonder. Only one experiment has ever worked- Charles tart's Miss Z where she read the number. There are thousands of people who claim to be able to see OOB, but so far only one has done it in a controlled environment and it has never been replicated. Unfortunately there was no camera in the room to seal the deal and prove she didn't somehow cheat. Poor Tart must have thought he would easily replicate the finding later, then the woman disappeared, and for 40 years nobody has repeated it. So far no NDEr has read the signs near the ceiling of the ER. You would think, with the popularity of the OBE now that at least one person would come forth with the ability to see things OOB in a controlled experiment. I've talked to a prominent figure in NDE research about this problem and he told me "people come out of the woodwork claiming to me that they can see things OOB, but when tested they can't". He wanted me to devise a clever experiment. I couldn't think of anything a 5 year old couldn't dream up. Either people can see OOB accurately, or they can't. 40 years later....

I see there being big problems with materialism and big problems with this naive spiritualistic dualism. The truth is never going to deny what we know scientifically,(though what we know may be incomplete),

When I was a spiritualist I was terrified to study the counter-arguments. After I did, I was no longer a spiritualist.

Dogmatic said...

I don't see it as counter-arguments personally. I don't understand why one would reject some facts to the preference of others. The truth would entail an explanation for all the data.

I've never heard a materialistic explanation for psi. Not in relation to how it works. That is a common skeptical argument, that there is no physicalist explanation. If there isn't, than physicalism is inadequate for a true explanation of reality.

I tend to think of it like a simulation. Take a video game for instance, what if you were able to log into your character, forget your past real 'life', and truly immerse yourself into that reality of the game by taking direct control of that character and anchoring your thoughts and senses into that characters body. Sensations to that character would seem real, you'd feel it, but once you die you 'log out'. Back to the real life.

Whatever it is that we refer to in everyday conversation as 'I' or 'me' is the 'soul'.

And I was an atheist until I found out about psi and other 'spiritualistic' information. Now I'm not an atheist.

Aaron said...

I was a spiritualist when I knew about psi, then I became an atheist when I learned about neuroscience, Now I don't know what to believe- most spiritualists are radically naive and delusional- they are just as unwilling to look at the ideas of materialistic neuroscientists as materialists are to look at psi. , most materialists are blinded to the possibility of psi.

The personality is created by the brain. Period. I would not call this "the soul". If anything lives on it may be some sort of imprint of the mind carries forward or something of an essential consciousness. The other solid possibility is that we are annihilated at death. nobody has persuaded me completely.

Troy said...

"The personality is created by the brain. Period."

Again, read Irreducible Mind.

dawnow said...

Aaron: "It is important not to make the mistake of believing that things like OBE and NDE need to be explained by some evolutionary feat that developed for one specific purpose.... and if they can't be explained that way then jump to the conclusion that evolution had nothing to do with it."

Due to a mixup my post name changed from nbtruthman to dawnow. The current paradigm of evolution is Darwinism, that the development of new and more complex structures and behavior, species, families, classes, phyla and so on) is totally due to a combination of chance (random mutational genetic change) and necessity (natural selection, the favoring of some changes in reproduction). The development of any new neurological structure or built-in complex pattern of neurological function must in this model come about because the new function has survival value in the battle of reproduction. A new psychic function to be subject to evolution as so defined would have to have physical reproductive advantage. The only other (with a couple of minor exceptions) option for a mechanism of evolution involves teleology in some form, primarily outside intelligent intervention.

How do you define your use of the term "evolution"? Are you suggesting that OBEs and NDEs did evolve through Darwinian processes of random mutation and natural selection, but originally for different purposes? If so, what might they have been?

In any case, even if the NDE is a new recruitment of ancient evolved neurological capabilities, natural selection would still have to have favored the new phenomenon. The question is then, how.

Finally, as I have already mentioned, a lot of data indicate these phenomena are irreducible (entirely) to material brain structures and neuronal activity. However, some of the cases you point out certainly indicate that like other aspects of personality and consciousness, they are still intimately connected to the physical brain. Even trivial phenomena like alcohol intoxication proves this. Yet another necessary cognitive dissonance, unless an interactive dualist model is entertained.

Aaron said...

"How do you define your use of the term "evolution"? Are you suggesting that OBEs and NDEs did evolve through Darwinian processes of random mutation and natural selection, but originally for different purposes? If so, what might they have been?"

(aaron)

why did the brain evolve to have certain amazing experiences on LSD? It didnt of course. But the experiences happen because of how the brain is wired.
I think these are the wrong questions. This is like asking "why did moths evolve to fly into flames? it makes no evolutionary sense therefore it must be supernatural"

it is absurd to think that obes and ndes evolved. But the fact they happen doesn't prove anything unless someone can show that their mind is nonlocal. If ndes and especially obes are real, I find it absolutely astonishing that nobody has proven nonlocal mind through simple experimentation after all this time. I've heard all the excuses. One believer friend of mine says there is a cosmic conspiracy that no psi can be allowed by the powers that be, to be confirmed in our world. I find this very difficult to fathom. It would mean that psi research is forever doomed.

dawnow said...

Aaron: "...I find it absolutely astonishing that nobody has proven nonlocal mind through simple experimentation after all this time."

I can only refer you again to some of the excellent books covering the subject, like Irreducible Mind and Stephen Braude's Immortal Remains.

The very notion of "proof" is unscientific. It really applies to mathematics, basic logic, and law. All science can establish is some degree of likelihood based on the assumption that the phenomenon can in principle be duplicated in the lab.

A science that that depends solely on experiments that are repeatable in a lab automatically rules out real but unique or rare events, imposing artificial limits on nature. The skeptic says, " We don't believe in eye-witness reports, no matter how many and how credible the witnesses and how much the associated veridical data. Bring the phenomenon into the lab." Eyewitness "anecdotal" reports of NDEs, ADAs and other afterlife-suggestive psychical phenomena are often of excellent quality, and would be accepted if the subject were most anything else. It is up to the super-skeptic to show how the witnesses could plausibly have been deluded, or were guilty of fraud.

On top of this, there actually is no experiment that could be designed which would convince closed-minded scientists. There always is some very implausible, virtually impossible way there could have been fraud, experimental error, misperception or delusion. No amount of evidence is enough to the closed mind.

All that said, the data has such incongruities and difficulties (such as you allude to) that only a provisional acceptance can be made of a survival hypothesis. There may be better hypotheses. One of the favorites since the late nineteenth century and the early investigators like F.W.H. Myers is super-psi and the manifestation of subconscious sub-personalities. Another one is the notion of a "morphic unconscious", sort of a psychically connected collective unconscious along the lines of Carl Jung's thoughts. This would psychically manifest the collective anxieties, desires and aspirations of humanity, "morphing" into whatever is needed by individuals at a deep level. It would have a semi-conscious ability of subconscious mentation of a high order, to deliberately mimic deeply desired things like glimpses of an afterlife, memories of previous lives, messages from deceased loved ones, etc. etc. I don't think any of these alternative hypotheses are particularly tenable, but they are at least arguable.

Aaron said...

"On top of this, there actually is no experiment that could be designed which would convince closed-minded scientists."

aaron

Seeing something accurately OOB- an extremely common claim can be easily tested. Nowadays we even have "experts" everywhere like William Buhlman and Albert Taylor who have written books on going OOB and can do it regularly. I guarantee that if these guys thought for one microsecond that they could actually see something accurately in the physical world in their OOB state, they would have already submitted to controlled tests and proven it. The simple and obvious reality is - they cannot. Is there any other reasonable explanation?

But they can't accept this idea so they make up all sorts of unlikely reasons for it like- there's a duplicate energetic world that doesn't accurately correspond to the physical world. isn't it much more likely that their imagination and memory does not reflect anything they haven't already witnessed before?

Since, as you say, there are numerous anecdotes that really are fascinating and amazing, it warrants attempts to verify it experimentally (such as the experiment with the signs over the operating rooms going on right now), Maria's shoe, Pam Reynolds, Miss Z.... that guy you met on the street etc....

If it exists it will be proven. If it doesn't it will not, unless you believe in the cosmic conspiracy theory.

I have been referring to veridical sight- a large scale psi aspect. I do not argue about the type of psi experimentation Dean Radin does where you need complex statistical analysis to show an effect and even then many smart people don't buy it. Maybe he has already proven it, but I don't have enough knowledge of statistics to know.

Goonch said...

I've actually just read Buhlman's book and have started attempting it. Been only about a week so nothing yet.

Both of them have seen things at a distance that verified the experience as real and 'out of body' for themselves. Here are some coast-to-coast shows with them someone uploaded to youtube if you have time to listen:

Buhlman:
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=2127A6056BFC7CDF

Taylor:
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=3296E37DDE1473E7

As far as experimental testing goes, I don't know if they have done so or been asked to do so. If they have step-by-step processes to perform the feat yourself, what better way to dive in and experiment for your own personal gain?

Ross said...

Maybe a little off topic but has anyone heard Larry Dossey's interview where he says that the 9/11 aircraft were only full to 20%capacity(on very busy routes, almost unheard of) and adduces this was due to precognition of what ensued. If true this deserves to be more widely known.

dawnow said...

Aaron: "...If it exists it will be proven. If it doesn't it will not, unless you believe in the cosmic conspiracy theory."

You ignore my points about the nature of "proof" and the limitations of the experimental scientific method, without engaging them.

You seem to hold on to a restrictive semi-Scientistic mindview, rejecting all the compelling investigations of the early researchers into psychical phenomena, plus all the more recent investigations, that have produced compelling data some of which aren't strictly controlled laboratory experiments.

This includes Richard Hodgson's investigation of Mrs. Leonora Piper, and the investigations over many years of Mrs. Gladys Osborne Leonard (both Piper and Leonard were the most extensively tested mediums of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and were never found to be fraudulent). To say nothing of Dr. Charles Richet, Dr. William Barrett, Sir William Crookes, Frederick Myers, etc. etc.

Then more recent examples like the Schwartz medium experiments and the Stevenson apparent reincarnation investigations.

You throw out all this as not rigorously scientific enough for your standards. This position clearly implies we have to question the reality of most human experiences and observations, many of which are unduplicable in the laboratory and incapable of the sort of "scientific proof" he is looking for. This way lies a sort of sophisticated madness, because no human experience can then be accepted as a true account of a real event.

The leading arguments against the acceptance of quality eyewitness testimony ("anecdotal" evidence) in parapsychology are self-deception, exaggeration, naivete, outright misperception or honest self-deception including collective hallucination, and dishonesty or fraud for various reasons like desire for publicity or notoriety. Or a combination of these factors. All of these assertions are easily demolished.

On the subject of OBEs, just for the record, I would still refer you to an excellent new book covering this topic among others, Charles Tart's The End of Materialism. Of course you are free to dismiss this internationally recognized authority's conclusions. Chapter 12 covers in detail (among others) his own laboratory experiences with several subjects. He concludes that the situation is "messy", but that his best guess is that in the case of some subjects the mind may really be out of the physical body and sensing psychically from that location. He goess to cover NDEs and other phenomena also indicative of some form of interactive dualism.

However I guess your mind is closed on the matter.

Aaron said...

I have tried to have OBEs, never with any success. If it happens I will try my damnedest to verify it somehow.

dawnow, I am not closed minded to psi, just not wholly convinced. If forced to choose I would say I think there is probably something there. I am not as excited about the evidence as you are.

If Charles Tart cannot completely convince himself of the reality of it, why do you expect me to? He seems mostly convinced obviously, but not completely.

I have read Buhlman and Taylor's books, as well as Robert Monroe's. There is a fascinating account in Tart's parapsychology book "mind body spirit" by William G Roll, a parapsychologist who has had OBEs since childhood who runs his own veridical experiments and decides that his are, despite seeming perfectly real, an illusion.

dawnow said...

I agree that many if not most OBEs seem to really be hallucinations, especially with those people who claim to be able to do it at will. Robert Monroe sincerely believed in his "journeys out of body", but Tart could find no evidence they were anything but internally generated. However, Tart still thinks there is a case for some OBEs being real. He even has a couple of possible models of consciousness (especially his "simulation" theory) which involve the person really being "out" in some sense but still having distorted perceptions.

You seem to feel that the entire issue of interactive dualism hinges on the reality of OBEs. Tart, Braude and many others look at the entire spectrum of psychical phenomena including NDEs, at-death communications, after-death communications, and reincarnation evidence, and also the full spectrum of psi phenomena including telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, psychokinesis, psychic healing and pre and post cognition. All these phenomena have massive evidence for their reality, where all the separate lines of evidence converge on a single model, interactive dualism, using abductive reasoning to the best explanation.

However, as I mentioned, there are other hypotheses that have various levels of plausibility, and are actively debated in the community. These other hypotheses to be seriously considered at least accept the psychical phenomena as real. What they do is explain them as various levels and types of involuntary deception combined with psi. These concepts, like super-psi and the morphic unconscious, deny real interactive dualism and have a certain plausibility, but less than the spirit hypothesis. These alternate hypotheses involve truly massive deception, but they are at least arguable. What is not reasonably arguable in my opinion is the reality of the evidence.

Where you apparently have a closed mind is in what is the nature of valid evidence, and take the Scientistic position of refusing to accept any of the evidence for psychical phenomena.

Book Surgeon said...

If veridical sight is the issue, what about remote viewing? Trained RVers like Joe McMoneagle have produced incredible results in numerous highly supervised experiments, including those monitored by skeptics. That would seem to indicate a highly likelihood of the reality of nonlocal mind.

I'm not in a position to cite sources right now, but if there's interest, I'll track some down when I'm not on deadline.