Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Something unknown



This is a trailer for a new movie on psi. I'm one of the people interviewed. It has a good clip showing the eyetracking presentiment study that I blogged about earlier.

13 comments:

MrEvidential said...

Dr. Radin do you believe the evidence for psi is sufficiently replicable to accepted scientific standards? It seems that recently there has been a split in the parapsychological community on this question. Parapsychologists like Dick Bierman, J.E. Kennedy, and Walter Lucadou seem to believe that the pervasive decline effects and the difficulty in replication indicate that the phenomena are naturally "capricious, actively evasive, and unsustainable
(Kennedy 2003)." Some even think that we need new scientific standards to incorporate the phenomena into mainstream science.

Dean Radin said...

Yes. The nature of the evidence is no different than evidence that is well accepted in more conventional areas. The only real difference is that these phenomena challenge common sense and prevailing theories to such an extent that critics require a level of certainty far beyond what is required for less controversial phenomena. Some argue that this double standard is appropriate. I disagree.

That is, this is not a case where we are dealing with extraordinary claims. The claims have persisted throughout history. The only extraordinary part is that the claims do not fit prevailing theories, and since theories evolve, it is pure hubris to imagine that what we know today defines what is conceivable tomorrow.

And as I've written in my books and elsewhere, arguments that somehow psi research differs in style or methods from standard scientific practices is a myth. It is not necessary to create "new" standards to accommodate psi effects. We need clever experimenters to design new methods of studying these effects, and in the process we may well extend current techniques (history has shown that the rigors required to properly conduct psi research has led to the development of methods that have become mainstream), but I don't agree with suggestions that new standards are required.

If these same researchers had been asked whether they believe the evidence for psi has established that there is something worthy of serious study that cannot be explained through conventional means, I believe they would all say yes, and with confidence. This doesn't mean that all parapsychologists agree on everything, because of course we don't. But on the existence of genuine anomalies that deserve serious consideration, I believe we're all in agreement.

Book Surgeon said...

Dean, you could be describing this comment by Richard Wiseman (about 3/4 of the way through the piece):

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-510762/Could-proof-theory-ALL-psychic.html

Talk about a craven attempt to move the goalposts. I suspect Wiseman RVd the burning eyes of James Randi on the back of his neck.

FB said...

It looks like it's going to be a DVD-oriented release. With Paul Verhoeven behind it, I imagine that the business angle will be skillfully handled.

from the website:

Technical info:

• Format and length: Feature documentary
• 104’ min. HD. Available in PAL & NTSC and any other format
• Subject: Science behind psychic phenomena
• Filmed on location in: The US, Holland and South Africa
• Associate Producer: Paul Verhoeven
• Filmmaker & Ex.Producer: Telekan, RenĂ©e Scheltema

With:

• Prof Charles Tart
• Dr. Dean Radin
• Prof. Gary Schwartz
• Dr Roger Nelson
• Dr Rupert Sheldrake
• Dr Hall Puthoff
• Dr Larry Dossey

And...

• Arielle Ford
• Edgar Mitchell
• Dr Jack Houck
• Dr David Dosa
• Rebecca Good
• Nancy Myer
• Catherine Yunt

Jime said...

Dr. Radin do you believe the evidence for psi is sufficiently replicable to accepted scientific standards?.

Mr.Evidential, relevant for your question, and for Dean's comment, is the following concession by skeptic Richard Wiseman:

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

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

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

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

http://tinyurl.com/5y8zs8

Wiseman is referring to remote viewing in particular, not to psi in general.

But the key point is that he concedes that the evidence is good enough to consider remote viewing as "proven" according normal scientific standards of any other area of science.

Wiseman's words also confirms Dean' point "The only real difference is that these phenomena challenge common sense and prevailing theories to such an extent that critics require a level of certainty far beyond what is required for less controversial phenomena."

Commenting on Wiseman's argument, Michael Prescott pointed out: "But why exactly is remote viewing an "outlandish claim"? I think this is what begs the question, to use Wiseman's phrase.

His argument is a variation on the old saw that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." There is some truth to this, but the trouble is, who can agree on what constitutes an extraordinary claim?

In a world where consciousness is restricted to the brain, remote viewing would indeed be extraordinary and outlandish. But in a world where consciousness can operate independent of the brain, remote viewing is exactly the kind of thing we would expect to see. We would also expect to see reports of out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, telepathy, precognition, apparitions, and after-death communication. And we do! In fact, such things have been reported for thousands of years all over the world and are taken for granted by billions of people today, just as they were by most of our ancestors.

So there may be nothing extraordinary or outlandish at all about any of these phenomena. They only appear that way to those who start with the assumption that such things just don't happen.


http://tinyurl.com/ntvfzv

I agree with Michael. I've developed some ideas and thoughts on Wiseman's concession --- and his simultaneous dismissing of the evidence (similar to the one employed by Hyman) --- in this post:

http://subversivethinking.blogspot.com/2009/08/skeptic-richard-wiseman-concedes-that.html

Personally, I don't think any kind of positive evidence for psi will convince professional hard-nosed skeptics.

Dean Radin said...

> Personally, I don't think any kind of positive evidence for psi ...

I agree. A convincing theory and/or a convincing application may do that. Then again, there are people who still believe the Earth is flat, or only a few thousand years old, or that we haven't gone to the moon. For that kind of stubbornness, no evidence of any kind will ever suffice.

MrEvidential said...

Very amusing Jime. If Wiseman's colleagues at CSI knew about this, they would go psychotic!!!

Josh said...

I do not have much faith in psi. If you think they are dependable then that is your problem.
Just stumbled and submitted your site to Viralogy. Hope you get some great traffic from it. Your blog is here http://www.viralogy.com/blogs/my/48839

- Josh

Enfant Terrible said...

Sheldrake obtained new evidence for telepathy:

A rapid online telepathy test.

Sheldrake R, Beharee A.

Psychol Rep. 2009 Jun;104(3):957-70

In an automated online telepathy test, each participant had four senders, two actual and two virtual, generated by the computer. In a series of 12 30-sec. trials, the computer selected one of the senders at random and asked him to write a message to the subject. After 30 sec., the participant was asked to guess who had written a message. After the computer had recorded his guess, it sent him the message. In a total of 6,000 trials, there were 1,559 hits (26.7%), significantly above the chance expectation of 25%. In filmed tests, the hit rate was very similar. The hit rate with actual senders was higher than with virtual senders, but there was a strong guessing bias in favour of actual senders. When high-scoring subjects were retested, hit rates generally declined, but one subject repeatedly scored above chance.

Enfant Terrible said...

I think I found an error: 1559/6000 is NOT 26,7%, but 25,98333%. That's very weird.

Dean Radin said...

> I do not have much faith in psi. If you think they are dependable then that is your problem.

1) This is not about faith, but rather about evaluation of data collected under controlled conditions. 2) I've never said, nor is there any evidence, that psi phenomena are dependable, in the sense of highly reliable.

Eva.Ku said...

Hey Dean, thanks for letting us know about this. I ordered it right after I saw your post. It came a while ago and I've watched it twice so far. It wasn't exactly anything new since I've read about basically all of this stuff, but it was great to see on tv and I really, really enjoyed it. Plus it was very useful to show it to people who aren't as interested in this as I am and who I can't force to read my books =P They are much more willing to sit down and watch a movie!
Thanks again!

Vimarie said...
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