Monday, April 14, 2014

Feeling the future meta-analysis

Before Cornell University psychologist Daryl Bem published an article on precognition in the prominent Journal of Social and Personality Psychology, it had already (and ironically given the topic) evoked a response from the status quo. The New York Times was kind enough to prepare us to be outraged. It was called "craziness, pure craziness" by life-long critic Ray Hyman. Within days the news media was announcing that it was all just a big mistake.  I wrote about the ensuing brouhaha in this blog

But the bottom line in science, and the key factor that trumps hysterical criticism, is whether the claimed effect can be repeated by independent investigators. If it can't then perhaps the original claim was mistaken or idiosyncratic. If it can, then the critics need to rethink their position.

Now we have an answer to the question about replication. An article has been submitted to the Journal of Social and Personality Psychology and is available here

The key phrase in the abstract reads:
"The paper reports a meta-analysis of 90 experiments from 33 laboratories in 14 different countries which yielded an overall positive effect in excess of 6 sigma with an effect size (Hedges’ g) of 0.09, combined z = 6.33, p = 1.2 × 10e-10. A Bayesian analysis yielded a Bayes Factor of 7.4 × 10e9, greatly exceeding the criterion value of 100 for “decisive evidence” in favor of the experimental hypothesis."
In layman terms this means that according to the same standards used to evaluate evidence throughout the psychological sciences that implicit precognition is a genuine effect. This outcome, combined with a meta-analysis of presentiment effects, provides additional evidence indicating that what bothers critics is their belief about how Nature should behave, rather than how it actually does. 

We do not need precognition to predict that the new meta-analysis will not influence the critics' beliefs. Their beliefs, like those of most people, rest upon a naive realist (i.e., common sense) view of nature. 

While common sense is good enough for most basic activities of daily life (not including an understanding of how television, smartphones, GPSs, and computers work), it is not sufficient to account for the larger reality revealed by science. Nor is it capable of perceiving the far stranger and vaster realities that patiently wait for us far beyond the reach of today's science.


Update April 25, 2014. As I predicted, this meta-analysis shows no signs of influencing critics' beliefs. Instead, new objections are invented. The latest is that we shouldn't believe this analysis because Bem was one of the authors and he has a vested interest in the outcome. But based on that logic we are also justified in ignoring any meta-analysis published by avowed skeptics because they have a vested interest in their outcomes. Do vested interests pro or con influence these analyses? Undoubtedly they do. So is it even possible to craft a truly neutral assessment? Probably, but it would take some effort because the published reports would have to be carefully scrubbed clean so the analysts wouldn't know what the topic of their analysis is all about. And somehow other analysts would need to thoroughly search all published and unpublished sources to find every relevant study ever conducted.

I  haven't heard of anyone ever getting funding for this type of uber-neutral analysis, but if you do know a source of funding that might be interested in supporting such an effort, please let me know.

Update August 14, 2014. And now some critics are claiming that the most sophisticated usage of meta-analysis itself is flawed, throwing into doubt everything published in psychology, biology, medicine, ecology, and all other disciplines that rely on meta-analysis for assessing replication of small effects. This is a "move the goal-post" strategy: When evidence is not to your liking, change the rules so it's no longer offensive. Now the only acceptable evidence is based on experimental designs that are publicly preregistered. Why any critic thinks that will solve the problem is beyond me. 


180 comments:

sedona1948 said...

What surprises me is that this is so surprising to others.

Rhino Chuckyh said...

Hi there, Dean. I'm a big fan of your work, and while I accept the existence of psi, presentiment etc based on personal experience, there is one problem for me, which I'm hoping you can put at ease. I understand that so-called sceptics often let their established opinions control their judgement, but when we are dealing with something as measurable as your presentiment studies, or the effect of mind on random number generators, surely a genuine, repeatable effect can be identified sufficiently to put the sceptics at ease.

Lets say we had a machine that flipped 1 billion zeros or ones, and then results are added up to create a single collective zero or one result from the 1 billion flips. Even a very small influence from mental attention will have a huge affect on the overall result. Let's then say we go a step further by repeating this whole process again and again, until we've done the entire experiment 1 million times (1 billion x 1 million flips), and from all of this we define the result as either a single 1 or 0. The result should match the intention of the thinker with 100%near 100% accuracy.

Using a process like this, we should be able to put the sceptic in chair, tell him to think of a 1 or a 0, and then let them watch their thought appear on a screen in front of them with 100% accuracy. My greater point being, if the results are so direct and measurable, it should be fairly straightforward to devise an experiment that sceptics simply can't argue with. If mental attention can influence an event generator in 0.001% of instances, we should be able to build a machine that irrefutably proves that effect in a way that no sceptic can argue with. If the effect is there, what's wrong with us if we cant build a device to prove it? How sceptical somebody is shouldn't really matter!

Simon Fraser said...

Of course the most entrenched people won't support it. Imagine if all the well known cynics who had said this was all woo-woo, who had built careers or parts thereof by calling it such, admitted they were wrong. The entire raison d'être of SGU, JREF, RDFRS, TAM Rational wiki et al would be vanish.

Dean Radin said...

> if the results are so direct and measurable, it should be fairly straightforward to devise an experiment that sceptics simply can't argue with...

You are assuming that the process of evaluating evidence is a rational process. It isn't. As Bayesian statistics shows if one's prior beliefs exclude the possibility of psi, then no amount of additional evidence will change anything. This seems ridiculous, but it's true.

It is also not the case that personal experience will necessarily change one's beliefs. Again, if one strongly holds the idea that real psi cannot happen, or one has bet one's career on that belief, then even if it does happen it won't be perceived. Or if it is perceived it won't be remembered or the event will be reconstructed in a way that maintains psychological comfort (e.g., it was a coincidence, an illusion, a trick, etc.).

I used to think that progress in science was a rational progression. That's how science is taught in school. But the history and sociology of science, as well as my own experiences, tell me that the schoolbook version of science is an ideal, and not the way the real world works.

As Max Planck said, “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”

IreneSoldatos said...

Dean, I find it astonishing and admirable that you don't spend your life in a state of perpetual frustration-induced rage. I would! My blood pressure rockets just by looking at the results on the 1st page of a Google search for the words "Daryl Bem".

Though Max Plank is, of course, completely right, I fear that current militant sceptics are so vocal, and the support they receive from mainstream media so enormous, they continue to influence indelibly the younger generations of scientists, which will just result in a new crop of militant sceptics.

Bean Ham said...

I'm also a big fan, but I'm always disappointed that the bottom line results of the field are still numbers on a page. Until someone can provide a consistent verifiable practical application, it seems like the court of public opinion will ignore the numbers and scientists will continue to be skeptical of how the numbers were collected. Is there any reason to believe that there will be a breakthrough that can provide this type of application in the next few years?

Sylvain Frédéric Nahas said...

> If the effect is there, what's wrong with us if we cant build a device to prove it? How sceptical somebody is shouldn't really matter!

Beside cognitive dissonance, check out for "psi miss."

> or one has bet one's career on that belief,

While they are fond to raise this argument against their "opponents", it's one factor most followers of organized skepticism conveniently prefer to ignore concerning their own leaders...

Ben Steigmann said...

I've been reading really old accounts related to trance - just finished reading some discussion of "higher mesmeric phenomena" in Wallace's book looking into these issues, showing the ghettoization of them even in his time.

As a suggestion for researchers - it may be that deep trance elicits more powerful psi responses, and experimenters may want to test that theory.

Dean Radin said...

> Is there any reason to believe that there will be a breakthrough that can provide this type of application in the next few years?

Hard to say. It's always possible, but an application with the level of reliability we're used to with our electronic technologies -- that's quite a ways off in the future. Applications in the form of espionage and ways of making a bit of money in the stock market already exist.

As an analogy, we're still very much at the place where Benjamin Franklin was in flying kites in electrical storms. He knew that lightning was a startling but real phenomena, it was natural and not supernatural, and he was coming up with clever ways of studying it. But he had no viable theory for lightning, nor could he have known that one day these strange sparks would be understood well enough to form one of the fundamental engines of modern civilization.

I do expect that one day when adequate theoretical descriptions are developed for psi that new applications will arise, and when that happens it too may become one of the engines of post-modern civilization.

Simon Fraser said...

http://chronicle.com/blogs/conversation/2014/04/08/embracing-the-unexplained-part-2/

The comments section in this article shows what we are up against. A couple of the skeptics when presented with evidence simply ignore it and return to spouting the same rhetoric. i.e. parapsychology is like bermuda triangle, bigfoot and UFO research, it's woo, James Randi prize etc. I suppose there isn't much one can do, but you do feel like shaking them sometimes.

Simon Fraser said...

Hi Dr Radin.

A skeptic and I are having an interesting debate and I'm wondering, if you have time (if not don't worry) what you think of the fellow's objections

"The problem is that the alleged positive results you talk about cannot be replicated by scientists outside of parapsychology institutions. It's also suspicious that all the papers you cite are meta-analysis i.e. just numbers on paper. If psi effects are real why cannot they not be demonstrated in real life? Anything slightly above "chance" is considered to be evidence for "psi" but this is a fallacy because those results could be from a number of things and look closely at the numbers they are always only *just* over chance levels, never any real conclusive numbers. It's well known meta-analysis can contain uncertainty and all kinds of error and biases.

When an experiment can't be repeated and get the same result, this shows that the result was due to some error in experimental procedure (sensory leakage, methodology error etc) rather than some real process. As there is no repeatable evidence for psi after 130 year investigation on record it's safe to conclude psi probably doesn't exist. We are looking here at something else. Mostly experimental errors, magical thinking and human cognitive biases.

If psi existed people would be winning the lottery more and gambling casinos would be out of business but the earnings are exactly as the laws of chance predict. If psi existed there would be no disease, people would be just curing themselves. You need to question your paranormal belief system more because what you believe is riddled with contradictions, errors and holes.

Precognition is scientifically impossible an effect does not happen before the cause. Psychokinesis violates the inverse square law, the conservation of energy etc.

If psychokinesis existed there would be no science and no objective results because the subject would just influence the results of any experiment or test. If psychokinesis was real then no scientist would be able to trust readings on their scientific instruments etc. Dean Radin has never contemplated these facts.
All measurements in science would become falsified if psi was real because the subject would just influence all the results. There would be no objective science if psi was real. If anything psi is anti-scientific. It is the definition of pseudoscience and there is no empirical evidence it exists."

Dean Radin said...

"The problem is that the alleged positive results you talk about cannot be replicated by scientists outside of parapsychology institutions."

Not so. See the paper by Delgado-Romero & Howard and my reply on my Evidence page. It is also falsified by the many replications cited in the feeling the future MA. What is a "parapsychology institution"? A place that has ever conducted a psi experiment? Then that includes Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Duke, Cambridge, Edinburgh, etc.

> It's also suspicious that all the papers you cite are meta-analysis i.e. just numbers on paper.

This is a funny statement. All experimental reports are about numbers on paper.

> If psi effects are real why cannot they not be demonstrated in real life?

They can be, as I discuss in my book Supernormal.

> Anything slightly above "chance" is considered to be evidence for "psi" but this is a fallacy because those results could be from a number of things ...

Sigh. This is a hopelessly naive, ignorant criticism. I discuss all this in gory detail in my books and there are plenty of articles one can read.

> When an experiment can't be repeated and get the same result ...

Hence, meta-analysis is used to assess whether replication has been achieved. It has.

> If psi existed ... precognition is scientifically impossible ... psychokinesis violates the inverse square law ...

Again, hopelessly naive.

> Dean Radin has never contemplated these facts...

That's a good one.


Simon Fraser said...

Thank-you for your time, I realise you've gone through this stuff before ad infinitum. I guess I'm trying to win the argument with this guy, but that is probably a losing battle. Again thank-you and happy easter.

Ben Steigmann said...

Chris Carter's "Science and Psychic Phenomena" addresses these issues. Regarding one of them, he states, "Skeptics of psychokinesis are fond of pointing out that there are well established
laboratories for testing PK in Reno, Las Vegas, and Monte Carlo.
So, could PK be used to beat the odds in the casinos? Not likely. The PK effects observed in the laboratories are simply far too weak. Physicist Nick Herbert has calculated that the odds in favor of the house on even the most favorable casino games are about one hundred times larger than most of the deviations from chance observed in the PK experiments. Even the most gifted micro-PK subjects do not even come close to displaying results that would allow them to consistently beat the house. Furthermore, even if some forms of the PK, telepathic, or precognitive effects displayed in laboratories were strong enough
in theory to beat the casinos over a long run, it is highly unlikely they would work in practice. First, psi researchers, aware of their subjects’ potential for
boredom and fatigue, typically limit experimental sessions to only 15 to 30 minutes. However, in order to beat the casinos over the long run, people would need to perform consistently at an optimal level, perhaps over a period of months, or even years. Second, conditions in psi experiments are designed to be as psi-conducive as possible, and so are generally quiet and relaxing with few, if any, distractions. On the other hand, casinos are designed to be distracting and to prevent careful thought and concentration, with bright lights, loud music, scantily clad women, and free alcohol. Replications in science are meant to be conducted in experimental conditions as nearly identical to the original experiment as possible, not wildly different."

The "130 years" statement rests from a coverup by Hyman and Alcock discussed in that text. Other arguments of the critic are refuted in "Science and Psychic Phenomena", ch. 11 and 12.

Debbie said...

'In layman terms this means that according to the same standards used to evaluate evidence throughout the psychological sciences that implicit precognition is a genuine effect.'

We might consider three possibilities:
1. The paper presents evidence of precognition.
2. There is an error in the analysis.
3. There is an issue with the evidential standards used in the psychological sciences.

If possibility 1 or 3 turns out to be true, the paper would be a major contribution to the field. Let's wait and see.

Leif

Ben Steigmann said...

Dean Radin has dealt with many of these critics, noted, by sourcing quality sources, the inaccuracies of Zusne and Jones, etc: http://survivalafterdeath.info/articles/other/skepticism.htm

Other critics have been similarly rebutted. It is impossible at present to correct wikipedia on this, since people are attacked for merely attempting to challenge their vitriolic tone - see the following: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:Parapsychology/Archive_18&diff=603751035&oldid=599068096#Unexplained_Deletions

(most of the criticisms of Rhine are refuted in Carter's book - I will get other items - Hansel's account was noted by Marcello Truzzi to be seriously erroneous).

Rhine exposed fraud amongst parapsychologists - saying he suppressed exposure of it is inaccurate - for another take on this from a more conservative parapsychologist,see: http://jeksite.org/psi/misconduct.htm

I would not at all be surprised if the 1974 article is being used in a misleading way - I will have to obtain it - Rhine's critics like Martin Gardner and also Wheeler have been seriously misleading when discussing him: http://jeksite.org/psi/skeptic81.pdf

And as Brian Josephson noted, "I.J. Good's review of Radin's survey of the evidence for paranormal phenomena, The Conscious Universe [1], misleads by its selective approach to parapsychological research, combined with claims of error on the author's part that are invalid. As the book indicates, possibilities for fraud and unintentional error are much reduced by present day techniques so that what may or may not have happened in the case of Soal is essentially irrelevant (unless one believes in extensive collusive cheating among apparently reputable individuals, a hypothesis I find implausible). For example, readings are nowadays normally not written down by the experimenter, but recorded and analysed automatically. Such improvements have not made the effects go away, giving one some reason to consider that they are real."

but at any rate,these people ignore those from their own ranks like Chris French, who repudiate the charge that parapsychology is a pseudoscience: http://deanradin.blogspot.com/2013/04/show-me-evidence.html?showComment=1395422400685#c8120650415580834742

Ben Steigmann said...

For Truzzi's reply to Hansel, see p. 5 of this: http://tricksterbook.com/truzzi/ZS-Issues-PDFs/ZeteticScholarNo7.pdf

Terry the Censor said...

Isn't it a conflict of interest for Bem to be evaluating the work of Bem?

Rhino Chuckyh said...

Hello again Dean. Thank you so much for your generous and lengthy response to my original question posted on Wednesday. It is appreciated. This follow-up question should be a bit simpler I hope...

How much money would you estimate it would cost to design & build an apparatus (such as the one described) that could essentially use the effect of mental intention on matter to predict the intention of a volunteer with near 100% accuracy. For clarity lets say 99%+.

(BTW that pseudo million dollar challenge has nothing to do with my asking of the question.) Thanks again!

jamesrav said...

Although it will never happen, it would almost make sense for skeptics to admit this 'force' exists and tell the proponents to go play with their shiny new toy and report back when they find something it can be used for. I think people who study PSI primarily want respectability, and that means "give me money to study it". Well find some rich benefactor out of the 12 million millionaires around the world to bankroll the tests - seems hard to believe not one is willing to lend his/her name and money to a paradigm-shift discovery. The heady days of the 50's and 60's when people like Nina Kulagina were (apparently) moving objects by PK have been replaced with pre-sentiment on the order of milli-seconds, with a 'success' rate just over chance.

Buzz Ambient said...

@IreneSoldatos: "Dean, I find it astonishing and admirable that you don't spend your life in a state of perpetual frustration-induced rage."

Dean Radin as a lecturer and scientist is cool as a cucumber ... He deals in facts and sober questions, in contrast to those who believe that "It can't be, therefore it isn't!"

@Simon Fraser: "If psi effects are real why cannot they not be demonstrated in real life?"

It is likely that we all use psi frequently in real life, but do not recognize when we are doing it. I invite you to learn Remote Viewing, in which you can demonstrate to yourself, not "Psychic Powers" to alarm James Randi, but the simple, natural and repeatable ability to obtain accurate information about a subject to which you have no ordinary access.

You may find, as I did, that having positive results in your "real life" is convincing and profoundly broadening.

You could also persuade yourself that it didn't happen, that there is no mechanism, and that psi practitioners and researchers are chasing rainbows. For some, the latter option is more comforting.

Dean Radin said...

> have been replaced with pre-sentiment on the order of milli-seconds, with a 'success' rate just over chance.

The presentiment effect is comparatively robust and can be detected up to 10 seconds in advance of a random stimulus, depending on the physiological measure that one uses. There are organizations interested in potential applications.

Dean Radin said...

> How much money would you estimate it would cost to ... predict the intention of a volunteer with near 100% accuracy.

Many millions. This is still very much a basic science experiment. Transitioning it into a technology would require an enormous R&D effort. By analogy, someone might have asked Marie Curie how much it would take to transition the radioactive rocks she was studying into mega-watt power stations. It took dozens of decades, thousands of people, and billions of dollars.

Dean Radin said...

> Isn't it a conflict of interest for Bem to be evaluating the work of Bem?

The paper was co-authored. Unlike Wikipedia, science values expertise.

Terry the Censor said...

Terry said: "Isn't it a conflict of interest for Bem to be evaluating the work of Bem?"
DR said: "The paper was co-authored."

If the paper has sufficient co-authors, then Bem can safely recuse himself.

Science values objectivity, not self-dealing.

Stephen Baumgart said...

I had never realized how spoiled I was researching high-energy physics until I read skeptical critiques of presentiment.

For high-energy nuclear and particle physics,

1) There are no practical applications.

2) It often takes enormous amounts of data - years of running colliders collecting millions/billions/or more of collisions - to see a statistically significant result.

3) Many discoveries become apparent only after careful statistical analysis.

If the psi-skeptics were at all fair, they would have thrown out all evidence for the Higg's boson (and most of the rest of the field) and demanded that funding for the LHC be eliminated for supporting "pseudoscience". Besides, has anyone ever seen "quarks", "Higgs bosons", or any of these other "fundamental particles"? ;-)

Dean Radin said...

> Science values objectivity, not self-dealing.

This seems to imply that a scientist who makes an important discovery shouldn't publish subsequent papers on that topic, including review papers, even though he or she is the most qualified person to do so.

If that idea were enforced then journals would come to a screeching halt. In any case, the MA in question was performed with and without Bem's nine studies, and the other 81 replications stand alone.

This critique, by the way, is representative of what I predicted would happen when this paper is finally published. People who just can't stomach the idea that precognition is real will find all sorts of new reasons to ignore it.

IreneSoldatos said...

@Buzz Ambient: 'Dean Radin as a lecturer and scientist is cool as a cucumber ... He deals in facts and sober questions, in contrast to those who believe that "It can't be, therefore it isn't!" '

He is also human. ;-)
(Sorry for talking about you as if you're not here, Dean!)
I have a PhD myself, though it's in the arts; but in my life I am constantly surrounded by natural scientists (my husband is a biochemist) and I can vouch for the fact that none of them are 'cool as cucumbers', especially when their own work is attacked because of erroneous preconceptions, obstinacy, or simply because their results contradict that on which the 'attacker' has built a career; i.e. for no good reason. (Yes, this happens a lot!) What they do have is the ability to take several deep breaths, vent their frustration with friends or family, have a drink, then go back and write a calm response against the accusations. None of this means they don't get enraged and frustrated. In fact, I've often thought that the halls of Academe would provide a brilliant setting for a soap opera. ;-)

William Strathman said...

"The new meta-analysis will not influence the critics' beliefs. Their beliefs, like those of most people, rest upon a naive realist (i.e., common sense) view of nature."

IMHO the most vociferous critics are not only naive realists, but are also heavily invested in philosophical materialism, whether they realize it or not. For them, the universe in its fundamental essense consists solely of inert materials and forces. For them "mind" is an epiphenomenon ensuing from these inert materials and forces. When one presents any evidence that suggests that "mind" may be independent of inert material their insecurities get the best of them.

tyy said...

@Stephen Baumgart

High energy physics, also called particle physics, is the basis of all modern physics and our understanding of the universe and natural phenomena.

Investigating selfmade reality bubbles is of course easier and more convenient for lesser minds.

Terry the Censor said...

@Dean
> This seems to imply that a scientist who makes an important discovery shouldn't publish subsequent papers on that topic

You know that is rhetoric. Continuing one's work is not the same as pretending to objectively judge one's own work.

> This critique, by the way, is representative of what I predicted

Did you predict that Bem would validate Bem? That was indeed predictable.

If you think this is permissable, what's next? Issuing Nobel Prizes to yourselves?

Dean Radin said...

> Investigating selfmade reality bubbles is of course easier and more convenient for lesser minds.

That's what I used to think when I was deeply involved in engineering and physics. After I got a doctorate in psychology, and especially later when I became involved in consciousness studies, I realized that understanding the mind is much more difficult than physics.

All of physical theory and the mathematics it's based upon are, after all, dreamt up by the mind. Physics is merely a symbolic representation of our experience of the physical world.

Dean Radin said...

> Continuing one's work is not the same as pretending to objectively judge one's own work.

Then I suppose the following paper was equally guilty and should be tossed?

http://deanradin.com/evidence/galak2012.pdf

Or perhaps that paper is fine because those authors reached a negative conclusion?

And what about this article reporting a successful meta-analysis of presentiment experiments (a class of studies I've been conducting since 1996)? I contributed several studies toward this database, but I'm not an author of the meta-analysis. Is this one okay?

http://deanradin.com/evidence/Mossbridge2012Presentiment.pdf

Terry the Censor said...

@Dean
> Is this one okay?

There should be no conflict of interest, period.

You can obscure that point with your partisan dog whistles, but such mucking arguments don't make psi claims valid all by themselves.

Dean Radin said...

@Terry -- Concerns about conflict of interest are common, and valid, in clinical trials (drugs, therapies, etc.) because of the obvious potential for financial gain. I've never seen it mentioned as a problem in a basic science meta-analysis.

Can you provide a citation indicating that this is considered a problem in the social, psychological, or behavioral sciences?

Within parapsychology, meta-analyses published by skeptics Hyman, Wiseman, Bosch, and the aforementioned Galak, all reported negative results. All of these meta-analyses have been widely reported and discussed, and I haven't seen a single skeptic complain that those authors had a conflict of interest.

Are you suggesting that a different standard is required in this case because the topic is psi research?

If you can manage to reply without resorting to insults I would appreciate it. If you cannot manage it, then don't bother to reply.

IreneSoldatos said...

@Terry the Censor
>There should be no conflict of interest, period.

>You can obscure that point with your partisan dog whistles, but such mucking arguments don't make psi claims valid all by themselves.

Nice.

So, you are either ignorant of the peer review process, or you are being deliberately obtuse in order to mislead.

When a paper in any natural science is submitted for review, the authors also list the names of reviewers they would like the paper to go to: that is experts in the field who are sympathetic to their research. They also list those to whom the paper should not go to, because they are competitors who are likely to review the paper negatively or throw obstacles in its path, like delay the review for months in order to have the time to publish their own contradictory results first. This sort of thing happens ALL the time and anyone who says differently is simply lying -- and it is only one of the ways in which research results are distorted.

So, to suggest that Psi research is tainted by "conflict of interest", whereas "proper" science resides in some lofty sphere of pure truth unadulterated by human interests is an outright misrepresentation of facts, which I hope stems from ignorance and not from deceit.

Darkelf said...

I apologize if a similar post appears twice. I had some problems with the website the first time around.

@Terry, I am highly skeptical of Bem's results, but it is entirely acceptable for him to include his own data in a meta-analysis. It would make sense to perform a control analysis in which his data is removed though. In fact, the Galak paper did that and suggested that Bem's results drive all the significant findings in their analysis (this was only on two of the nine experiments however).

What I think is much more important but completely ignored by this entire discussion is that Bem's meta-analysis has not passed peer review. It is technically unpublished (and in fact the header of the PDF says you shouldn't quote or distribute it in this form). Yet everybody here treats it like a published paper. The final version could be quite different after peer-review or it may be rejected. It seems premature to draw major conclusions from this.

Simon Fraser said...

https://twitter.com/ThatNeilMartin/status/453208217485852672

Blimey, they're already jumping on it!

Dean Radin said...

> is that Bem's meta-analysis has not passed peer review....

True, but Daryl is a highly accomplished professor who has published many high-impact articles. The likelihood that this one will be published pretty much in its present form is very high.

It was posted pre-publication for the same reason that many papers are deposited in the physics and math-oriented arxiv.org -- for open access and discussion.

Dean Radin said...

Simon, that tweet was referring to a different paper.

Simon Fraser said...

> That tweet was referring to a different paper

Ah ok, still, I envision the same reaction all the same.

Simon Fraser said...

RE: That tweet. I'm always amazed how some skeptics complain about there being no evidence. Yet when a journal publishes evidence, they complain about it.

Terry the Censor said...

@Dean Radin

You are re-framing this as a mere partisan debate and an issue of my character.

No one will take this paper seriously because of an obvious appearance of conflict of interest. The focus of this anaysis is Bem's own work. This is not the same as a meta-analysis covering a broad range of papers by a diversity of authors.

And your responses reinforce my concern. Here in your echo-chamber, you give Bem's self-analysis a ringing endorsement; the only critical remarks are directed at "hysterical critics" and commentors who bring up valid ethical questions.

You give no indication of scientific thought, mere partisan cult-think.

Terry the Censor said...

@Darkelf

Very sensible points. Thank you for the thoughtful response.

Dean Radin said...

Terry > No one will take this paper seriously because of an obvious appearance of conflict of interest. The focus of this anaysis is Bem's own work. This is not the same as a meta-analysis covering a broad range of papers by a diversity of authors.

The point of the article that started this thread was to answer the question -- was the transparently clear experimental protocol provided by Bem successfully repeatable by other investigators?

The answer, based on the MA, is yes.

If your concern is that Bem and three colleagues somehow cooked the books to cleverly arrange for an answer that would cast Bem in a favorable light, then that accusation can easily be checked by having someone else repeat the MA. Given that you've raised the issue (which I think is entirely spurious, but nevertheless ...), I nominate you for that task, provided of course that you can persuade us that you are completely neutral about the outcome and hold no favored expectation.

Doug1943 said...

Perhaps the view of someone who is skeptical about psi, but who also believes that, in the end, evidence is everything and therefore we must remain open to changing our minds, may help.

We don't know everything about the world. The astonishing discoveries about reality at the sub-atomic level made during the 20th Century, and the very existence of consciousness, should make everyone open-minded.

However, the problem with psi, from my point of view, is that there seems to be only weak effects, which are easy to dismiss as the result of something we have overlooked in the experiments that generate these effects. There are many examples of experiments having nothing to do with psi, which were invalid because of one reason or another: measurement errors, bias, micro-level phenomena of which we were unaware...

After decades of research, we don't seem to have any general theory of what might be going on with psi effects, assuming they are valid, something with which we could make predictions.

Is psi, for instance, evidence of something analogous to the electromagnetic spectrum, some phenomenon of space/time that is mainly (at the moment) beyond our ability to detect?

That's assuming, of course, that psi, if it exists, is a phenomenon that can be investigated the way other natural phenomena have been investigated. Do experiments, accumulate evidence, form testable hypotheses, see if you can generalize these into laws which cover a lot of phenomena...

If partisans of psi would address themselves to this issue, they might make more progress among the 'orthodox'. (Or perhaps you have, and I just don't know about it. In which case, point me to the right references.)

Dean Radin said...

Doug1943, see http://deanradin.com/evidence/evidence.htm for a small slice of the relevant literature.

Are psi effects uniquely weak? No. The average effect size for some classes of psi experiments is essentially the same as the average effect size observed in the conventional social sciences.

Are the empirical effects observed in modern psi experiments plausibly explainable as design flaws, measurement errors, or etc.? Critics who have actually read the relevant modern literature cannot identify any plausible design flaws.

The remaining (valid) criticisms today center around "questionable research practices" such as selective reporting in meta-analyses and p-hacking in individual or collective analyses. These can be settled (at least in principle, and partially) through pre-registration of experiments, which is becoming common across many experimental domains.

I discuss these issues in detail in my latest book, Supernormal.

Ben Steigmann said...

@Doug1943

I am in process of refuting skeptics on older psychical research, as I think an honest history of the facts in this case is important.

With some physical phenomena, there are no accusations or indications of fraud, and skeptics ignore these - take the following, validated by a famous fraudbuster: http://www.survivalafterdeath.info/articles/price/stellac.htm

There are suspicions of fraud on the part of Price, but ironically the only ones that hold up are re his debunkings - there is contrary affirmative testimony from magicians re his 3 major debunkings, and other items - however, there is a paper arguing that fraud was not possible on the part of Price or Cranshaw in this case - Randall, J. L. (2001) The mediumship of Stella Cranshaw: a statistical investigation. JSPR 65, 38-46.

For others, like Daniel Dunglas Home, skeptics have spent years trying to undermine him, and there are accusations of fraud - all of which can be refuted, but I believe I will soon be able to show that all of it is spurious. Eric Dingwall had animosity towards much of psychical research but he came to positive conclusions about Home - I provide overviews of this, and a review of a book that refutes most of the skepticism. The rest of the argument is spurious, and the wiki article has citations that might even be fabricated - e.g. - the allegation sourced to Podmore that he had a constant companion with him, when searches for relevant terms show that nothing of the kind appears in "Modern Spiritualism", which "Mediums of the 19th Century" is a reprint of. Anyway, some rebuttal to skepticism of Home is here, the book Dingwall reviews positively refutes allegations of fraud- also, Amsterdam Seances where he convinced skeptics are mentioned - from overviews I saw of them (I am obtaining the major source), he seems to have produced the same kind of phenomena that Crookes stated he recorded: http://deanradin.blogspot.com/2013/04/show-me-evidence.html?commentPage=2
I have seen other misrepresentations - e.g. -in the attempt to debunk the Crookes experiments, etc, but this will be seen only by consulting the primary source literature.

Please realize that skeptics have worked for years and years to try and debunk this kind of stuff - and a person would have to spend a great deal of time in counterattack. If somebody wanted to donate me $2000 so that I might get the literature necessary, I would only spend it on this issue, but that's the amount that would be required to get all the obscure books necessary for this.

Ben Steigmann said...

Meanwhile, there is definitive proof of deception on the part of James Randi - from a prominent fellow skeptic (though I would call him a genuine skeptic, as opposed to Randi). Relevant overview is on p. 89 of Marcello Truzzi's critique of Project Alpha 'Reflections on Project Alpha....', which begins on p. 73 of the skeptical text "Zetetic Scholar", Nos. 12/13: - http://www.tricksterbook.com/truzzi/ZS-Issues-PDFs/ZeteticScholarNos12-13.pdf

"Not all psi researchers were put on the defensive by Alpha. Dennis Stillings, director of a Minneapolis groupcalled the Archaeus Project, which puts out a newsletter by that name, was outraged and initiated a retaliatory hoax which started as a small joke but escalated into something more significant. Stillings felt that Randi was trying to reap advantage from lies told to the psi researchers and was, in effect, blaming the victims. Stillings believed that any parson could be deceived by lies and that Randi was just as susceptible to such human error as anyone. So, Stillings (1983a) issued a phony,one page, special issue of his group's newsletter (of which only two copies were mailed out and these to Edwards and Shaw with the expectation that they would show it to Randi). The ersatz issue contained a short, two paragraph, fraudulent announcement that the Archaeus Project had just been given "a fund of $217,000...as seed money for a program in PK research and education" It said the funds were for "grant money to PK investigators, especially those interested in 'metal bending"' and for "developing a program of educating children in the range and nature of parapsychological phenomena." Finally, it said that "Those applying for grants, as well as those gifted with paranormal abilities" should write to Stillings. Stillings also separately wrote a letter to Shaw telling him that sinceshaw was a fraud, he should not apply for any of the money.To stretch the joke even further, Stillings also published a warning "Advisory Notice (Krueger, 1983)--to parallel Randi's similar advisory notes--in a previous real issue of his group's newsletter.

Though Stillings' original prank struck me as being a bit silly (after all, Randi never claimed to be immune to trickery, and conjurors fool one another all the time), what happened next went far beyond Stillings' expectations and turned the matter into a significant episode. upon seeing the phony announcement, and apparently without properly checking things out, Randi decided to give one of his annual psi-mocking "Uri Awards" to this receipt of a phony grant. Thus, on April 1, 1983, Randi's Discover news release gave a "Uri" in the funding category: "To the Medtronics Corporation of Minneapolis, who gave $250,000 to a Mr.Stillings of that city to fund the Archaeus Project, devoted to observing people who bend spoons at parties. Mr.Stillings then offered financial assistance to a prominent young spoon-bender who turned out to be one of the masquerading magicians of Project Alpha--a confessed fake." In this incredible award statement, Randi managed to falsely identify a major corporation as the funding source (when no source was ever mentioned in the original announcement), escalated the award from $217,000 to $250,000, misdescribed the purpose of the phony award, and falsely claimed one of his associates had been offered funds!

Ben Steigmann said...

Stillings and other foes of Randi, particularly Walter Uphoff, had a field day with Randi's big blunder. With headlines in psi publications like "'Non-Magician Fools Conjuror" (New Frontiers Center Newsletter) and "Researcher Fools Randi Into Making Fictional Award" (Psychic News), the "Amazing" Randi was portrayed as merely "Amusing." Randi, however, was apparently not amused. He has thus far not publicly acknowledged his mistake, although he did write an apology to Medtronics and admitted his mistake in private correspondence (including a letter sent to Stillings which Stillings managed to get Randi to write him by posing as a third party). In fact, when his Uri Award list was reproduced in The Skeptical Inquirer, Randi's award to Medtronics was simply omitted without comment. Although Stillings had only intended his prank to demonstrate that Randi, too, could be fooled, it actually ended up displaying the fact that Randi is capable of gross distortion of facts and in this case, at least, shot from the hip (and here managed to hit his own foot). This naturally might lead some to question Randi's reporting accuracy in the past and should caution us to look more carefully at the past cries of "foul" that opponents have hurled at him."

Some of the documentation Truzzi refers to can be found here: https://ia802500.us.archive.org/30/items/ProjectROTSUCDenisStillings038/Project%20ROTSUC%20%20%28Denis%20Stillings%29038.pdf

The claim that project alpha "discredited" the field relies on omission of relevant facts, see "Science Versus Showmanship: A History of the Randi Hoax": http://www.aiprinc.org/para-c05_Thalbourne_1995.pdf

Ben Steigmann said...

RE Harry Price, who is relevant to the important Stella C investigation, there is of course this defense of him: http://www.harrypricewebsite.co.uk/Biography/price-randall.htm

I feel, and I am attempting to see if the references supporting this are sufficiently documented, and reading pro- and con- information in these cases, that Randall may have overlooked something, however, for now, the above, by default, seems appropriate. The other article, Randall, J. L. (2001) The mediumship of Stella Cranshaw: a statistical investigation. JSPR 65, 38-46., is noteworthy.

Terry the Censor said...

@Dean
> checked by having someone else repeat the MA.

You are getting closer to a valid position: someone else should have performed the meta-analysis.

Well done.

> I nominate you for that task, provided of course that you can persuade us that you are completely neutral about the outcome and hold no favored expectation.

That's right, no criticism whatsoever for the self-assessor, just partisan hackery.

You are a true-blue "eyes wide shut" advocate, Dean. You'd fit in with the MJ-12 crowd.

Dean Radin said...

Terry writes: "You are re-framing this as a mere partisan debate and an issue of my character. ..."

And now: "You are a true-blue "eyes wide shut" advocate, Dean. You'd fit in with the MJ-12 crowd...."

Now who's guilty of re-framing and character attacks?

Note that Terry has yet to provide a citation supporting his red-herring contention that Bem should be disqualified as an author on a meta-analysis related to Bem-type experiments.

Unlike a conflict of interest in analyzing medical trials, where bias can arise due to financial gain, scientists who report positive results in psi studies do not enjoy financial or any other type of gain. Instead, they become instant fodder for name-calling and accusations of bias or worse.

IreneSoldatos said...

@Terry the Censor
I don't inderstand what you want and what you are doing here, except maybe trolling.

The paper is being peer reviewed. It is not a perfect process but is what's accepted for all other disciplines so it shall have to be accepted for this one as well - assuming it passes.

Dean Radin said...

Irene, indeed. Like any controversial topic, this one attracts its share of annoying trolls, sockpuppets, meatpuppets, provocateurs and other parasites. I will henceforth adjust my "waste of time" threshold to block these people.

IreneSoldatos said...

@Dean
>"Irene, indeed. Like any controversial topic, this one attracts its share of annoying trolls, sockpuppets, meatpuppets, provocateurs and other parasites. I will henceforth adjust my "waste of time" threshold to block these people."

Sadly, on the internet all topics attract trolls - let alone controversial ones. And the only way to deal with them is to ignore them. (And block where possible).

I do however find it good (and admirable!) that you have the patience to engage in reasoned conversation with the militant skeptics of various flavours that decide they want to give you a piece of their mind. Though I do also agree that your "waste of time" threshold might benefit from being adjusted downwards by a fraction.

All these people shout very loudly. So loudly that they drown out all other voices and most people can't hear anything other but their furious hysterics. (Neither could I, for a very long time, which now actually makes me very angry!) Dampening all their noise where possible so the signal might have a chance of being heard is not a bad idea. :)

Julio Siqueira said...

Hi Radin,

It is nice to know that Bem seems to be finding support for his previous findings. I myself have not carefully read (or even merely read...) the article in question. It is good that Darkelf has pointed out that this is still pending evaluation prior to acceptance for publishing.

I would like to make a few comments on what previous commentators have said.

First, I singled out three extracts from Terry:

"If the paper has sufficient co-authors, then Bem can safely recuse himself."

"Science values objectivity, not self-dealing."

"No one will take this paper seriously because of an obvious appearance of conflict of interest."

It is good to have here someone who believes Bem's results are false. That said, I think, Terry, that there are several problems with this notion of "conflict of interest". Basically, it implies lack of honesty from the part of the researcher. Or, alternatively, it implies lack of objectivity. And remember that it is YOU who claims that science values objectivity. Yet, if the researcher IS honest and objective, why can't he simply come forward and declare that his previous findings were flawed? For example, psi researcher Adrian Parker advanced a statement in the book Psi Wars: Getting to Grips with the Paranormal that he later on retracted. Basically, he said he had found what seemed evidence of psi. Later on, due to further studies of his own (and of others), he concluded that the purported evidence was not there. So he was (apparently) honest and objective. Period. If he (Parker) can be considered honest and objective in this instance, and taken serious by the scientific community, why can't we grant Bem the same treatment? The issue of conflict of interest has always been a concern in science, definitely, and nowadays it is even, say, fashionable: researchers are asked to declare if they have any competing interest in the subject they are writing about, when submitting papers to scientific journals. Does that indeed guarantee much? I doubt it. What does guarantee something is heavy, well directed, and honest criticism and analysis. And this you can be sure Bem's work will be receiving (except for the "honest" part... For, unlike you said, science does not cherish objectivity much, prefering instead to adhere to the status quo as much as possible).

Also, Dean Radin said: "The likelihood that this one will be published pretty much in its present form is very high."

And this is the State of the Art we have come to in Psi Research... :-). We are hanging on the thin threads of likelihood of likelihood (the likelihood that a paper presenting the likelihood of a phenomenon will be published). Definitely unfair. Yet, the name of the game.

Best Wishes to All,
Julio
http://www.criticandokardec.com.br/criticizingskepticism.htm
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Simon Fraser said...

http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00336/full

Speaking of the skeptics. I almost get the feeling they're fighting back against the recent evidence. Or perhaps this is purely coincidental.

Julio Siqueira said...

Just a further comment to Terry,

Imagine Ray Hyman and James Randi themselves step forward and declare they are utterly sure Bem's findings are correct, his statistics are superb, his procedures are air-tight, and his candor is indisputable, etc. What would happen? Most likely (and I say, most likely indeed!) nothing at all (except for their peers declaring the two gone nuts). There is much much more than objectivity in this issue, as is also true for most issues in...science. As Carl Sagan used to say: Science is a human endeavour.

Best,
Julio

Dean Radin said...

> I almost get the feeling they're fighting back against the recent evidence.

This looks like just one of many similar articles that have already been published. It has nothing to do with empirical psi research and from an educational standpoint it is laudable. My only complaint with such efforts is that they often fail to clearly distinguish between the genuinely anomalous and pseudoscience. There is a tendency to imply in these articles, and in courses on "critical thinking," that anything outside a thin slice of the orthodoxy is automatically pseudoscience, and that is not only wrong, it is damaging to the spirit of scientific exploration.

Simon Fraser said...

>It has nothing to do with empirical psi research and from an educational standpoint it is laudable.

Yes, I noticed with a slight satisfaction that that aspect was conspicuously absent. Moreover, I also concur that it is laudable. Pointing out frauds who exploit other people especially so, i.e. Sylvia Browne.

Ben Steigmann said...

If people have doubts about Bem's objectivity, read carefully the following from Nancy Zingrone's thesis, pp. 71-72: https://www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk/bitstream/1842/7722/1/Zingrone2006.pdf

"McConnell’s (1976) article began as a lecture to an ‘anti-parapsychology course’ in which McConnell sought to outline the points on which scientific parapsychologists and critics agreed. This particular strategy was a result of an agreement he made with his critical colleague who was the instructor for the course in which McConnell gave his talk. Amongst the points he covered were: the critical claim that if ESP was proven to be ‘real’, then our view of the world and our behaviour would be affected more profoundly by such a fact than by any other discovery in history, an argument with which McConnell agreed (p. 303); that the evidence accumulated so far was not sufficient to ‘favor the reality of ESP’, a point on which critics and parapsychologists diverged (p. 303); and that a consensus on the quality of the evidence had not been reached either amongst critics or parapsychologists (p. 304).95 To explain why divergences existed in the evaluation of the evidence for ESP, McConnell noted that scientists preferred their own beliefs (p. 305), and that parapsychology was in what Thomas Kuhn (1970) would call a ‘pre-theoretical period’ (p. 307). The course instructor who had invited McConnell felt that those individuals were not only wasting research time and resources but that they were also spending too much time attempting to draw the attention of mainstream science. McConnell, on the other hand, felt that questions being asked in parapsychology were too important to go uninvestigated and that, in any case, the cost of that research was insignificant, perhaps ‘not more than a penny or two for every citizen in the USA’(p. 308).96"

Zingrone adds in footnote 96: "The sceptical instructor was social psychologist Daryl Bem (D. Bem, personal communication, 2004) who in mid-1980s became involved in Charles Honorton’s research, joined the Parapsychological Association around the same time, and is currently both a Board member of the PA and an active researcher."

Darkelf said...

The conflict of interest issue is a red herring. There is no conflict of interest here, at least not if they conduct additional control analyses excluding all of Bem's own experiments and compare the results for skeptics and psi proponents. The Galak paper did both of these and this suggests that A) Bem's own findings pull the results up and without it the results are not significantly different from chance and B) that the effect sizes from psi proponents are greater than from skeptics. A is unlikely to make much of a difference in this case from a brief look at the database but B should be interesting. If this experimenter effect is confirmed here then this raises questions as to why that may be. Of course this doesn't mean it's evidence for psi per se but it would be a good reason to do new experiments directly exploring this problem.

Bem and co also discuss the necessity for exact replications because exact replications produce stronger psi effects in this analysis. This however ignores the fact that an exact replication will also be an exact copy of all the artifacts and errors that may have influenced the original experiments. Exact replications have their place but in a situation like this, the first question one should ask is what makes the exact and indirect replications different?

If the peer reviewers do their job right they should raise all of these questions and the paper should be modified accordingly. The notion that the paper will be published as is because of Bem's standing strikes me unlikely, especially given the controversial nature of this paper.

@Ben Steigman, this summary about James Randi may be interesting, but you did not at all answer Doug1943's very good question. If psi research were to provide explanations that can be tested experimentally so that further mechanistic evidence can be accumulated, that would convince a lot of people. But as it stands this hasn't happened. It still seems to be entrenched firmly in square one trying to prove that the observations are real. It's the equivalent of Newton repeatedly letting himself be hit on the head by apples but never writing down any applicable theories.

Finally, I am sorry if my presence here is seen as trolling. I mean no offense to anyone but I mean to ask questions. Since this conversation is about a scientific investigation it also deserves scientific scrutiny.

Dean Radin said...

> Darkelf said...

> Bem and co also discuss the necessity for exact replications ... however ignores the fact that an exact replication will also be an exact copy of all the artifacts and errors ...

True, if the methods used were proprietary or obscure. But Bem specifically created a transparently simple protocol and freely shared all the source code used in the experiment. So anyone interested in replicating his study could inspect the software line by line to look for potential artifacts.

I'm fairly sure that any software instantiation would be fine provided that the method closely copied Bem's approach. By contrast, conducting the experiment online, as Galak did, is nice for statistical power reasons, but it's also quite different from what Bem was claiming. Every time someone does what they think is a conceptual replication, they are making assumptions about what does and does not matter. Maybe they're right, but maybe not.


> [Psi research] still seems to be entrenched firmly in square one trying to prove that the observations are real.

Not really. I know how that can appear to be the case from outside the field, but within it most researchers are engaged in process-oriented research, and most of my work is theory-oriented.

> Finally, I am sorry if my presence here is seen as trolling. I mean no offense to anyone but I mean to ask questions.

I have no problem at all with sincere questions or with constructive criticism. I do have a problem when a dialog devolves into name calling, or when it becomes clear that the only purpose of the discussion is to be provocative. So far I do not see trollish behavior on your part, but for all I know nearly everyone who comments on my blog could be a sockpuppet for one person with way too much time on his or her hands. I say nearly because I do know that some of commentators here are real people.

Simon Fraser said...

I was just looking at the 'Rationalwiki' article on parapsychology. One thing I noticed is that apparently

"In practice most of the experiments are of very poor quality design. They use poor controls (if any at all), usually have small sample sizes, ill defined terms and procedures, and rarely apply the concepts of double-blind studies."

Good god.

Dean Radin said...

Yes Simon. RationalWiki is a great example of irony.

Simon Fraser said...

http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00332/full

Sorry to lump this on you. It appears we have a new reaction to Julia's presentiment paper.

Simon Fraser said...

Another apparent violation of the laws of physics

http://intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/upcoming-debates/item/1020-death-is-not-final

Dean Radin said...

Simon, the Frontiers article is generally good, however it betrays a number of common mistakes.

> future events influencing the past breaks the second law of thermodynamics...

Thermodynamics is a statistical law, not an absolute. If it wasn't for the 2nd "law" regularly being broken none of us would be here to discuss this issue. Also, the concept of "reversed time" effects is a respectable topic within physics, and not just a theoretical issue. E.g. the delayed choice entanglement experiment.

> It also completely undermines over a century of experimental research based on the assumption that causes precede effects.

There's also over a century of experimental research that challenges conventional assumptions about causation. In any case, all measurements are correlations. The direction and even the existence of causation are inferences.

> Differences in pre-stimulus activity would invalidate baseline correction procedures fundamental to many different types of data analysis.

It certainly raises questions. But assumptions are always subject to change. Check any first edition of a science textbook and compare it with the 20th revised edition.

> While the meta-analysis briefly discusses this implication... the authors are seemingly unaware of the far-reaching consequences of their claims

Seriously?

> they effectively invalidate most of the neuroscience and psychology literature ...

This expresses a common fear that "everything I know is wrong." No. All that the psi claim does is make existing knowledge more comprehensive. It tells us that what we thought was fundamental is actually a special case.

> .. this interpretation betrays a deep-seated misapprehension of the scientific method.

Who is raising this misapprehension? The author of this opinion paper, not psi researchers!

> Much of parapsychology research is concerned with proving that psi is real

No. It's not about proof.

> we should stop relying on statistics at the expense of objective reasoning.

Given unavoidable measurement error, and possibly fundamental randomness at the quantum scale, what can possibly replace the use of statistics? I would argue that it is not possible to drop use of statistical inference, especially given that science is still very much in its infancy.

Dean Radin said...

More from the first author of the presentiment meta-analysis, Julia Mossbridge, writing to the author of the Frontiers critique (reproduced here with permission):

"I wanted to let you know I'm a bit disappointed that you didn't take our conversations into account in your comment. I addressed most of these points in our emails and in our discussion on the original paper posts on the web.

However, I do see that you want to make a public pronouncement of the problems you have with this research. I think there is some merit in having this as a public discussion. I just wished that you could have made some better choices about the problems you discussed while taking into account those I'd already addressed.

Specifically, the larger ratio of neutral to emotional stimulus types is used to ensure that habituation to the emotional stimuli does not occur. As you know, this is a common practice in psychophysiology. This is not a problem unless expectation bias is present, which as you know, was examined and dismissed in 19 of the 26 papers in the meta-analysis. It certainly isn't present in single-trial experiments.

Also, as you know, I agreed with you about Bierman and Scholte. As I said, I wouldn't have included the paper in the meta-analysis if I knew then what I know now about fMRI. Of course, it is only one paper, and without it the meta-analysis stands just as well.

Also, as you know, the baselining problem can only exaggerate existing post-stimulus effects (if the baseline trend is in the opposite direction of the post-stimulus trend) or decrease them (if the baseline trend is in the same direction of the post-stimulus trend). This does not mean, as you surely know, that all of neuroscience is invalidated somehow.

As to requiring extraordinary evidence but then proclaiming statistics should not be used to determine whether an effect is real, as I've effectively stated in our previous conversations, this puts scientists into a double-bind. We can only find effects that follow from our so-called "objective" ideas about nature. I wonder what Galileo would say about that?"

Dean Radin said...

Good commentary and comment thread on this topic:

http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/04/28/the-control-group-is-out-of-control/

MickyD said...

Dean, regarding he Schwarzkopf opinion piece, is this a concern: "In many of these studies (Bierman and Scholte, 2002; Radin, 2004) the data are not only baseline corrected to the mean activity level prior to stimulus onset, but they are further “clamped” to a particular time point prior to the stimulus. This should not necessarily influence the results if this point is a true baseline. However, if this pre-stimulus period is still affected by the response to the previous stimulus (e.g. the signal could decay back to baseline more slowly after an arousing than a calm trial) such a correction would inadvertently introduce artifacts in the pre-stimulus period. As such it may also be a much greater problem for slow than fast physiological measures" Michael.
Ps, I hope experts in the field comment.... it's already accumulated nearly a thousand views already.

Dean Radin said...

MickyD > such a correction would inadvertently introduce artifacts in the pre-stimulus period ...

As my colleague wrote (in a post above):

"the baselining problem can only exaggerate existing post-stimulus effects (if the baseline trend is in the opposite direction of the post-stimulus trend) or decrease them (if the baseline trend is in the same direction of the post-stimulus trend)."

I.e., yes, artifacts might be introduced but they wouldn't necessarily be in favor of the presentiment hypothesis. Also, as noted it is only a potential problem for slower signals, and presentiment effects are also observed in faster signals (like EEG).

Enfant Terrible said...

Hi, Dean

about the link you suggested, the author (Scott Alexander) wrote:

I looked through his list of ninety studies for all the ones that were both exact replications and had been peer-reviewed (with one caveat to be mentioned later). I found only seven:

Batthyany, Kranz, and Erber: .268
Ritchie 1: 0.015
Ritchie 2: -0.219
Richie 3: -0.040
Subbotsky 1: 0.279
Subbotsky 2: 0.292
Subbotsky 3: -.399

Three find large positive effects, two find approximate zero effects, and two find large negative effects. Without doing any calculatin’, this seems pretty darned close to chance for me.


His conclusion:

That is my best guess at what happened here – a bunch of poor-quality, peer-unreviewed studies that weren’t as exact replications as we would like to believe, all subject to mysterious experimenter effects. [...] I think Bem is wrong.

My impression is that in a few lines Scott simply destroyed the meta-analysis!

Dean Radin said...

Enfant > My impression is that in a few lines Scott simply destroyed the meta-analysis!

Of course. Scott provided a nice demonstration that by selecting certain studies you can craft any outcome you like. That's why you have to look at the whole database and not just cherry pick to match a preferred outcome.

What might have happened if, for example, Scott were to have selected exact replications whether they had been published (yet) or not? Or only looked at studies conducted on Tuesdays? Or in Europe vs. the US. Etc. Such comparisons are often interesting and potentially instructive, but they don't address the underlying existential issue.

Ben Steigmann said...

Dean Radin,

are you aware of statistics in Brazil, Latin American countries in General, India, and Asia in general, regarding acceptance of psi by academics in those countries, and if they differ from those in the West?

IreneSoldatos said...

@Dean Radin:
>More from the first author of the presentiment meta-analysis, Julia Mossbridge, writing to the author of the Frontiers critique (reproduced here with permission): ...

Is this a personal response she has sent, or is it a public response that has been sent to the journal? And if the latter, does the journal have a policy of publishing responses of this sort?

Enfant Terrible said...

Hi, Dean
some comments:

01 - Scott provided a nice demonstration that by selecting certain studies you can craft any outcome you like.

In this case he selected the best studies (that which have peer review and were exact replications). I think Parapsychology cannot accept data which can be spurious data. See, if Bierman and Scholte' article was seriously criticized and should not be in meta-analysis (by the way, their study was peer reviewed? if not, then we really can't trust in studies which were not peer reviewed. If yes, then we have to review the peer review...) how can we trust in a database which has more than 80 studies not peer-reviewed and were not exact replications?

We can't build a Science upon spurious data (or that can be spurious data).

02 - That's why you have to look at the whole database and not just cherry pick to match a preferred outcome.

I think it is a common practice in Science to use only articles which were peer reviewed. It is not a common practice to use only studies conducted on Tuesdays. Don't you think precognition is a claim too extraordinary for we accept studies not peer reviewed?

Simon Fraser said...

I've just been reading Doug Stokes recent book, Re- imagining the soul. I don't quite get him, he seems to be a proponent and skeptic. He acknowledges that there have been some positive experiments, but then charges that experimenters may have been duplicitous. It's a bit odd I have to say.

Simon Fraser said...

Hi Dean. In the upcoming debate with Carroll and Novella, they seem be to arguing that survival violates the laws of physics. I'm just curious how, if there is any kind of survival, that this would be so.

Thanks.

Ben Steigmann said...

From the following: http://subversivethinking.blogspot.com/2011/03/henry-stapp-and-his-paper-entitled.html

Professional quantum physicist and researcher Henry Stapp wrote an interesting paper entitled Compatibility of contemporary physical theory with personal survival, in which he discusses if quantum mechanics is compatible or not with the possibility of an afterlife.

Stapp concludes (contrary to the propaganda of materialistic ideologues) that nothing in contemporary physics precludes the possibility of an afterlife. In other words, the best and more foundamental of our scientific theories, namely quantum mechanics, is compatible with the existence of survival of consciousness.

For Stapp (who's an open mind skeptic of survival of consciousness), if an afterlife exists or not, is a matter of scientific research and evidence. But there is not an a priori scientific reason to exclude the physical possibility of an afterlife.

Dean Radin said...

Enfant -- 56% of the studies reported by Bem et all were peer-reviewed. Of greater importance, 31 of those studies were exact replications, leaving little to no wiggle room for methodological revisions, which is where peer-review becomes more important. As Bem et al write: "Because an exact replication defines the experimental parameters and data analyses ahead of time, it provides some of the same safeguards against false-positive results that can be provided by recently established online registries for planned experiments."

The bottom line is that the exact replications were significant in the predicted direction. From an empirical perspective that answers the question about repeatability. From a sociological perspective it won't settle anything because as we've already seen, lots of people do not believe that the obtained effect is possible. So their belief will motivate them to come up with other interpretations.

Some of those interpretations may be correct. Time will tell. I suspect based on my own studies, and analysis of many similar studies, that what Bem et al report is in fact a retrocausal effect (which, contrary to what some believe, does not violate any physical laws).

Dean Radin said...

> violates the laws of physics ...

A common concern. But these laws are just mathematical models which are based on assumptions and somewhat stable regularities observed within certain environments and under certain constraints. We reify such laws and then become deified and inviolable. Silly.

Dean Radin said...

Irene: Is this a personal response ...

A personal response copied to several people that she intended to publish on the Frontiers website, but their commenting facility wasn't working.

Gianfranco Bussalai said...

<>
He forgot many others study published and peer-reviewed (i.e. Bem ES=0.290; Savva et al. ES=0.34; Savva et al. Study 1 ES=0.288; Savva et al. Study 2 Es=-0.058 etc...).
But even considering only the studies he cited, I obtain a positive complessive effect size (and not a "pretty darned close to chance" one). It's interesting to investigate the reason why people so inflexible in judging others work is so sloppy in his own considerations.

Julio Siqueira said...

Hi Simon,

You said:

"In the upcoming debate with Carroll and Novella, they seem be to arguing that survival violates the laws of physics."

I looked it up (i.e. this specific debate) on the internet, and I found:

"Make a note on your calendar: on May 7, one week from today, physicist Sean Carroll and doctor/podcaster Steve Novella will be debating Eben Alexander (author of Proof of Heaven) and doctor Raymond Moody (author of Life after Life) on the issue “Death is not final.” It’s an Intelligence-Squared debate that will be live-streamed at this site starting at 6:45 Eastern U.S. time. The moderator is John Donvan from ABC News."

https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/may-7-sean-carroll-and-steve-novella-to-debate-the-woomeisters-on-life-after-death/

So, it is tomorrow! And there will transmitted real time, as they say above, at "this site", that is, the url below:

http://intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/upcoming-debates/item/1020-death-is-not-final

I can't miss it! :-)

Julio Siqueira
http://www.criticandokardec.com.br/criticizingskepticism.htm

IreneSoldatos said...

Apparently, the commenting facility on the journal website is now working, and Julia Mossbridge has posted a response:

http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00332/full

And Schwarzkopf has posted a response to her response.

Apparently, he's been reading up on the Parapsychology literature for a full three weeks!

I am a glad to see, however, that Julia Mossbridge intends to write a formal response.

Dean Radin said...

> Apparently, he's been reading up on the Parapsychology literature for a full three weeks!

Yes, impressive. It is always possible that a newcomer has spotted something that specialists have overlooked. But it doesn't happen very often.

> Julia Mossbridge intends to write a formal response.

Yes, and a number of us will be coauthors on that article.

Tony Sappanos said...

Hi there Dean. I was curious about one of the examples in the posted article called "The control group is out of control". In the article, when trying to measure the effects of people psychically "sensing" observation, the skeptic and para-physiologist researcher arrived at separate results despite employing the same method. This kinda blew my mind.

Have you observed any such effect in your research over the years, or am I just over-thinking this?

D Samuel Schwarzkopf said...

@Irene: "Apparently, he's been reading up on the Parapsychology literature for a full three weeks!"

As the author of this commentary please let me clarify one point on this. I make no allusions to being intimately familiar with all of the literature on this, especially because some of the primary studies in the meta-analysis aren't that easy to get hold of. I kept my discussion of these points fairly general but of course I can't rule out that I missed important points. If so, they neither the meta-analysis or the review article clarified this in sufficient detail (which is what Julia Mossbridge seems to also suggest in her reply).

Either way, the take-home message of my commentary has nothing to do with any particular criticism of the research but with the process of science. For that you don't have to be an expert in any particular field. It is a very general criticism which I think also applies to the wider psychology/neuroscience community. Psi research is just a very good illustration of this pervasive problem.

To be a scientist is to be a skeptic. It's easy to forget that (I am certainly no exception).

Simon Fraser said...

A thought has just struck me. If consciousness or some sort of awareness is fundamental to the universe. Surely reincarnation is a certainty. I'm not talking about personality being reborn, as that seems tied to Brain states. But surely if panpsycism or some form of awareness is in the primordial ground of the universe, which, I think you agree, the evidence for psi seems to suggest, then we will all come back in many different forms. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like an interesting premise, and perhaps a motivation to treat the planet better if we're coming back sometime.

Gianfranco Bussalai said...

I think that at least one of the criticisms about PSI is founded: the majority of the researches aims to demonstrate the existence of the phenomenon rather than investigate the manner in which it manifest. Even Bem's experiments are placed in this vein, since, apart from detecting the existence of a precognitive effect, says nothing about the manner in which that effect occurs. Instead, I believe that finding elements (these really falsifiable, so accepted by science) characterizing the phenomena can also serve the purpose of convincing the skeptics, rather than the accumulation of data about the presence of an unknown phenomenon of uncertain nature.
Personally, I have developed a methodology of inquiry that allows to verify or deny assumptions about PSI, and have formulated some interesting hypotheses, now under test. For convincing someone of the existence of a dragon, you must know how to describe it in minute detail.

Dean Radin said...

> the majority of the researches aims to demonstrate the existence of the phenomenon ...

It may appear that way because that's the only thing that is mentioned in the popular press. But most of us who are actively engaged in this field are engaged in process-oriented research. Not proof-oriented.

Simon Fraser said...

To be fair, three weeks is better than most. One skeptic on fhe jeff kripal article in the chronicle stated that he'd spent half a day reading the conscious universe and decided it was on oar with UFOs and Bigfoot. A full half day!

IreneSoldatos said...

@ D Samuel Schwarzkopf said...

> As the author of this commentary please let me clarify one point on this. I make no allusions to being intimately familiar with all of the literature on this, especially because some of the primary studies in the meta-analysis aren't that easy to get hold of. I kept my discussion of these points fairly general but of course I can't rule out that I missed important points. If so, they neither the meta-analysis or the review article clarified this in sufficient detail (which is what Julia Mossbridge seems to also suggest in her reply).

Either way, the take-home message of my commentary has nothing to do with any particular criticism of the research but with the process of science. For that you don't have to be an expert in any particular field. It is a very general criticism which I think also applies to the wider psychology/neuroscience community. Psi research is just a very good illustration of this pervasive problem.

To be a scientist is to be a skeptic. It's easy to forget that (I am certainly no exception).


I'm afraid I take issue with several of these points. But I will respond only in defence of my initial remark, and I will do so with an example.

Under my real name (this is a pen name), I'm a musicologist. My field of expertise is Mahler. By extension this means I know quite a lot about late 19th early 20th c. music -- orchestral music, because I'm not really that interested in opera. I also know a fair bit about other composers that were a big influence on Mahler. I might branch out a bit more and get interested in Berlioz -- who Mahler greatly admired but who is significantly earlier. Or I might go forward in time and get interested in composers Mahler influenced. But if I want to comment meaningfully on the latest research on medieval music of the 13th century, I won't be able to do so on the basis of three weeks' reading. That is because, though the general method in the research might be the same across the board, and though it may all be music, each narrow area has its peculiarities, which set it apart from other areas and which then the method is specifically adapted to address. Moreover, there will be a great deal of information that I simply won't have the time to read, or even the access to. Finally, those writing for musicologists specialising in medieval music will necessarily assume that their readers are familiar with certain core aspects of the field. I, however, approaching this with little knowledge of the period and the research on the period, (in short, I don't know enough), might find it obscure and insufficiently explained. That would not be surprising, nor the fault, necessarily (in some cases it might be), of the authors writing for an audience of Early Music scholars. I'm a musicologist, they're musicologists, but neither side will be able to meaningfully comment on the other's research on the basis of three weeks' reading.

Now, I certainly agree that all scientists must have critical thought. Critical thought must be a way of life for all of us. But I do not want to use the word 'skeptic' because it has come to mean something which I find is the opposite of what a scientist should be.

@ Dean
> Yes, and a number of us will be coauthors on that article.

I very much look forward to reading it!

@ Simon Fraser
> To be fair, three weeks is better than most.

It is, and I should have not deleted the sentence which actually said that in my original post. :-)

Ben Steigmann said...

Dr. schwartzkopf - it can be very difficult to find good info in the current negative climate, but it does exist in mainstream publications - one source I am making a copy of currently is Child, I. L. (1985). Psychology and anomalous observations: The question of ESP in dreams. American Psychologist, 40, 1219-1230.
another that I have yet to access is Rao, K. R. & Palmer, J. (1987). The anomaly called psi: Recent research and criticism. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 10, 539-551.
The first, and the second, as I have seen it cited

Bem notes in his article "Does Psi Exist", "Unfortunately, there have been no ratings of flaws by independent raters who were unaware of the studies’ outcomes (Morris, 1991). Nevertheless, none of the contributors to the subsequent debate concurred with Hyman’s conclusion, whereas four nonparapsychologists—two statisticans and two psychologists—explicitly concurred with Honorton’s conclusion (Harris & Rosenthal, 1988b; Saunders, 1985; Utts, 1991a). For example, Harris and Rosenthal (one of the pioneers in the use of meta-analysis in psychology) used Hyman’s own flaw ratings and failed to find any significant relationships between flaws and study outcomes in each of two separate analyses: “Our analysis of the effects of flaws on study outcome lends no support to the hypothesis that Ganzfeld research results are a significant function of the set of flaw variables” (1988b, p. 3; for a more recent exchange regarding Hyman’s analysis, see Hyman, 1991; Utts, 1991a, 1991b).
[...]

In 1988, the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences released a widely publicized report commissioned by the U.S. Army that assessed several controversial technologies for enhancing human performance, including accelerated learning, neurolinguistic programming, mental practice, biofeedback, and parapsychology (Druckman & Swets, 1988; summarized in Swets & Bjork, 1990). The report’s conclusion concerning parapsychology was quite negative: “The Committee finds no scientific justification from research conducted over a period of 130 years for the existence of parapsychological phenomena” (Druckman & Swets, 1988, p. 22).

An extended refutation strongly protesting the committee’s treatment of parapsychology has been published elsewhere (Palmer et al., 1989). The pertinent point here is simply that the NRC’s evaluation of the ganzfeld studies does not reflect an additional, independent examination of the ganzfeld database but is based on the same meta-analysis conducted by Hyman that we have discussed in this article.

Hyman chaired the NRC’s Subcommittee on Parapsychology, and, although he had concurred with Honorton 2 years earlier in their joint communiqué that “there is an overall significant effect in this data base that cannot reasonably be explained by selective reporting or multiple analysis” (p. 351) and that “significant outcomes have been produced by a number of different investigators” (p. 352), neither of these points is acknowledged in the committee’s report.

The NRC also solicited a background report from Harris and Rosenthal (1988a), which provided the committee with a comparative methodological analysis of the five controversial areas just listed. Harris and Rosenthal noted that, of these areas, “only the Ganzfeld ESP studies [the only psi studies they evaluated] regularly meet the basic requirements of sound experimental design” (p. 53), and they concluded that
it would be implausible to entertain the null given the combined p from these 28 studies. Given the various problems or flaws pointed out by Hyman and Honorton...we might estimate the obtained accuracy rate to be about 1/3...when the accuracy rate expected under the null is 1/4.(p.51) [ 3 ] "

Ben Steigmann said...

In contrast, I have seen reference o a positive congressional report, but I have yet to obtain it. Sources like wikipedia are not good for this - they completely distorted - the Charles Honorton article "cites" two sources fraudulently - Emily Williams Cook (November 19, 1992). "Obituary: Charles Honorton". The Independent. and John Palmer (March 8, 1987). "Pink Noise and Dice". The Washington Post., are cited to support the statement " Some statisticians argued that the meta-analysis carried out by Honorton that supported an underlying pattern behind parasychological studies was ill-conceived and ignored basic rules of mathematics." - when if you actually read the articles, they make no mention of the claim, and the opposite is shown by the 1994 Bem article. The article on a major theorist is totally distorted, and makes sources say the opposite of what they actually say: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10152148242628218&id=295503008217

As far as research being process oriented, Adam Crabtree wrote a useful article: http://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F978-1-4419-0463-8_10

D Samuel Schwarzkopf said...

@Irene:
Thank you for your comments. I think you raise important points so please let me clarify.

But if I want to comment meaningfully on the latest research on medieval music of the 13th century, I won't be able to do so on the basis of three weeks' reading.

I take your point on this because I suspect the literature on 13th century music is substantially larger than on presentiment (or especially the limited database of studies included in this meta-analysis). In any case, you nevertheless have every right and the ability to research any topic you wish and having limited expertise with an area doesn't preclude you from detecting fundamental flaws or logical errors. This is what your training as an academic is supposed to prepare you for. Sometimes having a fresh look at an issue helps because those with expertise don't see the forest for the trees anymore (I suspect the history of science is full of such cases).

We should also keep in mind that it is a common logical fallacy to appeal to authority. Moreover, while I may not be an expert in presentiment, I am a neuroscientist (with a background in physiology) and these presentiment studies are essentially standard physiology experiments with one small twist. I'd argue that this enables me to make some informed commentary on this issue.

Or look at it this way: next week I will be attending a conference. While the research presented there is very broadly in my area, I am not an expert on the majority of it (in many cases I will have had no prior exposure, let alone 3 weeks' worth). Nevertheless you can still have in-depth discussions with other scientists and it frequently leads to new ideas, critical control experiments, etc. If we only valued the insights of people who have years of experience in one small area we would not get very far in science.

But I do not want to use the word 'skeptic' because it has come to mean something which I find is the opposite of what a scientist should be.

I appreciate this concern but that's only a semantic issue as far as I'm concern. I use the first definition of 'skeptic' you can find on Dictionary.com. Or you will you can use the motto of the Royal Society: "Nullius in verba - take nobody's word for it." I am saying that a scientist should remain doubtful of all interpretations, especially those based on the current body of knowledge and/or what is prescribed by the authorities but also always question what you think is true yourself.

I have noticed a tendency of many psi researchers to argue that they are doing just that, but ironically they show exactly the behaviour they criticise in skeptics. I will admit that there are many "mainstream" (I hate that word) researchers who probably dismiss psi research out of hand. In my view this is a mistake because is not in the spirit of science. But I also think that when applied properly the scientific method does not support the psi hypothesis and that the psi research community often only seems to pay lip service to alternative explanations without considering them seriously (I am not saying that there are no exceptions to this statement).

D Samuel Schwarzkopf said...

@Ben Steigman:

Thank you for your input but I fail to see the relevance of it. My commentary pertains solely to presentiment research (I have some views of precognition, too, but these are outside the scope of this discussion). I argue there are specific problems with these presentiment experiments and general philosophical ones with that area of research. I know that many parapsychologists probably believe that those other ESP phenomena are related to psi but - again - without a good testable hypothesis this remains nothing more than a statement. However, once again I notice in your comments the logical fallacy with statistics that I also criticised in the Mossbridge study:

"...and they concluded that
it would be implausible to entertain the null given the combined p from these 28 studies."


Statistics do not prove the existence of psi. They only tell you the odds that some effect didn't just occur by chance or when you perform model comparison (especially in a Bayesian framework) how consistent the data are with a particular model. The problem is that there is no psi model - all the research tests is that performance is not at chance. This does not explain why. I know I'm sounding like a broken record but that's because we are going in circles.

Anyway, I only commented here because I wanted to clarify the 3 weeks aspect of my critique. Yes 3 weeks may not be much, but it is sufficient. If I dismissed the research out of hand without bothering to do any background research on it, I think you'd be entirely justified to be outraged.

I very much appreciate Dean's tolerance in allowing this discussion here and I await their response. For your information, on my website I published a lot of additional background material I had been working on before summarising it in the small Frontiers article (you can find the link in the comments under my article - I apologise that it is still full of typos). This hopefully clarifies my points in more detail and lays out the issues I would hope any response to me should address. I will refrain from commenting here any more now as there are two many channels to monitor. You can leave me feedback on the Frontiers page or on my website (or possibly via email).

Julio Siqueira said...

Mr. Schwartzkopf,

You said: "Psi research is just a very good illustration of this pervasive problem."

I myself have not been looking at parapsychological results merely since the last three or four weeks. Instead, I have been looking at them, very meticulously, over the last ten years. And I cannot take a stand a thousandth as black/white as yours in your article. Go figure. Anyway, my view regarding your phrase that I quoted above is very different from yours (if I understood you correctly). I think the level of quality of parapsychological research is way above most ordinary sciences, and I would safely include in this list psychological studies, and biological ones (medical ones included too).

Unfortunately, I must include too the scientific level of the organized skeptic movement, and affiliates. Just yesterday I watched the streaming video showing debate between, on the one side, Eben Alexander plus Raymond Moody, and, on the other side, Sean Carroll plus Steve Novella. The skeptics' level of scientific discourse was way way below my most pessimistic expectations.

You yourself will be stunned by this example of lack of scientific sophistication from the part of atheist/materialist/activist/physicist Sean Carroll. He had the chutzpah of saying, before a crowded audience, that the afterlife, if it exists, would throw away almost all the science (or all the science indeed) that we have, i.e. would violate all scientifically established views (mainly in physics and in neurology). Now, if an experimental psychologist with three-week experience on the field of skeptical analysis of anomalous research comes up with a statement similar to this, I can understand (by the way, this recent phrase springs to mind: "It (precognition) also completely undermines over a century of experimental research based on the assumption that"). But a "seasoned" skeptic... You see, it is just like if a scientist of the not-so-long-ago past would step forward and say that both the anomaly in Mercury movement AND the anomaly of Uranus movement threw away all (or a significant part of) known newtonian physics. If you understand the chutzpah in this last statement, you will understand the chutzpah in Sean's. If you don't... well. Homework.

Best Wishes,
Julio
P.S.: Moody and Eben were even worse than the skeptics...

Julio Siqueira said...

Hi Mr. Schwarzkopf,

You said: "Moreover, while I may not be an expert in presentiment, I am a neuroscientist (with a background in physiology) and these presentiment studies are essentially standard physiology experiments with one small twist. I'd argue that this enables me to make some informed commentary on this issue."

In principle, yes your contributions may be of enormous worth. But you seem to have gone way into areas beyond your expertise, even taking stands on the causality issue (perhaps one of the most tricky areas of the human intellectual enterprise).

"But I also think that when applied properly the scientific method does not support the psi hypothesis and that the psi research community often only seems to pay lip service to alternative explanations without considering them seriously (I am not saying that there are no exceptions to this statement)."

For that I would humbly recommend more than a three-week probing into. In many situations, three weeks will do fine (your article "against" the presentiment meta analysis may even fit in this category, if we leave aside some wanderings off topic, like the causality issue and the thermodynamics stuff, etc). But not in this one. I myself had to intensely study the "current" state of the parapsychological debate for more than six months in years 2002/2003 before I could start to take stands.

Best Wishes,
Julio

IreneSoldatos said...

@ D Samuel Schwarzkopf

Thank you for responding. I completely understand that there are too many channels to monitor, so I will keep my reply brief, and try not to raise new points.

> Sometimes having a fresh look at an issue helps because those with expertise don't see the forest for the trees anymore (I suspect the history of science is full of such cases).

I agree.

> We should also keep in mind that it is a common logical fallacy to appeal to authority.

Indeed. However, no one did so. We only questioned the extent of the familiarity with a field that a relatively short time of reading can cultivate.

> Or look at it this way: next week I will be attending a conference. While the research presented there is very broadly in my area, I am not an expert on the majority of it (in many cases I will have had no prior exposure, let alone 3 weeks' worth). Nevertheless you can still have in-depth discussions with other scientists and it frequently leads to new ideas, critical control experiments, etc.

I agree absolutely. Much the same is the case for all academic conferences.

> I appreciate this concern but that's only a semantic issue as far as I'm concern.

I am of the opinion that semantics can be extremely important. They determine the way think as well as the kind of questions we ask.

> I am saying that a scientist should remain doubtful of all interpretations, especially those based on the current body of knowledge and/or what is prescribed by the authorities but also always question what you think is true yourself.

Again we are in complete agreement.

> I have noticed a tendency of many psi researchers to argue that they are doing just that, but ironically they show exactly the behaviour they criticise in skeptics.

I have been on both sides of the divide, and I have to now admit that I was less critical of what I thought was true as a materialist (a materialist despite personal experiences to the contrary), than I am now. I'm afraid I disagree with you fully on this point. In my experience, it is the skeptics and the mainstream scientists who accept unquestioningly their interpretation of reality as true.

I ask you only to consider that it requires an impressive kind of blind faith to sustain a conviction (note, I do not use the word "belief") in something as constantly attacked, scorned, and derided as parapsychology, without doubts and questions regarding one's interpretations ever arising. I find it difficult to believe that the people who have spent their lives conducting this research never doubt -- or have never doubted.

On the contrary, I submit that it is a great deal easier to sustain an unquestioning belief in what is generally considered mainstream.

> But I also think that when applied properly the scientific method does not support the psi hypothesis and that the psi research community often only seems to pay lip service to alternative explanations without considering them seriously (I am not saying that there are no exceptions to this statement).

This is something that it is best that Dean Radin and Julia Mossbridge address in their formal response, so I will make no further comment.

I would like to genuinely thank you, however, for an interesting and civilized discussion.

I would also like to thank Dean for hosting all this on his blog! The comments on this post seem to have taken over!

Ben Steigmann said...

As far as debates in parapsychology are concerned, this is a useful resource: http://repositories.lib.utexas.edu/bitstream/handle/2152/ETD-UT-2009-12-682/SMITH-DISSERTATION.pdf

People might also find something of value in Nancy Zingrone's thesis on criticism and response in parapsychology - they might want to search it: https://www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk/bitstream/1842/7722/1/Zingrone2006.pdf

One of the items it overviews is an important 1987 debate in Brain and Mind Sciences that I don't have access to, but that, as I have seen it cited, covers a lot of ground.

Ben Steigmann said...

And for the Facebook link, I was referring to the comments discussing FWH Myers, not the initial comment about Russel Targ, who had legitimate complaints, but misconstrued a temporary block from wikipedia as a ban.

I do think - since the peer reviewed articles and support from notable scientists are excluded from profiles of psi researchers, and since self published attacks on them are permitted, that they at least have incentive to have their pages removed, until there is accomplished some way of rectifying the underlying problems. I think there should be a large scale protest for this, by all affected parties.

Stephen Baumgart said...

"I ask you only to consider that it requires an impressive kind of blind faith to sustain a conviction (note, I do not use the word "belief") in something as constantly attacked, scorned, and derided as parapsychology, without doubts and questions regarding one's interpretations ever arising. I find it difficult to believe that the people who have spent their lives conducting this research never doubt -- or have never doubted."

This is very true. The good students who end up getting elite scientific educations are the ones who are best at absorbing information from their textbooks, teachers, and other sources of scientific authority. Almost all of the time, such trust is not misplaced. But working in a taboo field such as parapsychology creates dissonance with a strategy which has worked for almost two decades of formal education. I don't think Dean Radin or most other parapsychologists take their dissidence lightly.

It took a while for me to overcome my own skepticism about psi. I still would be skeptical about any individual experiment or even set of experiments demonstrating evidence for psi. It is the combination of evidence from many multiple lines of investigation (remote viewing/telepathy (Ganzfeld)/precognition/presentiment/micro-PK) which form the very strong case for psi. Even if one line of evidence might be critically flawed, the fact that they all show a consistent picture should convince a true skeptic of the reality of psi. To disprove the existence of psi, every line of evidence must be critically flawed in just the right ways and I would be very skeptical of THAT claim. Disproof would also entail that the scientific techniques used in fields from psychology to physics are also critically flawed.

It is also simply not true that our current understanding of physics precludes the existence of psi - and even if it did, then we would have to modify our understanding. Dogma has no place in science.

Mark Szlazak said...

Hi Dr. Radin.

It has been a while and I see that things have not changed with believers in the so-called skeptic community. Parapsychology is not alone in the special treatment it gets because it challenges orthodox dogma.

Look at cold fusion or what is now called LENR.

http://www.e-catworld.com/2014/05/06/infinite-energy-publishes-reviews-of-mats-lewans-an-impossible-invention/

Marcus T Anthony said...

Keep up the great work, Dean. You are an inspiration to people like me who are working in related domains. Your work always features heavily in any of my papers, books and articles.

Speaking of precognition, here's an interesting dream I had a week before mystic and author Stuart Wilde died. I wrote it down on my iPhone in the middle of the night after the dream woke me up. Then I promptly forgot about it. Even when I heard Wilde had died I didn't recall the dream. I stumbled across it a few weeks after I found out he died. Here's the dream as I recorded it.

***

I am looking in from a railway station at a pub across the road. It says “Stuart Wilde pub” on the sign. Then I look closer and see that it says: “Stu dead”. I feel great sadness.

Then I hear someone say: “Is it true?”

A little boy’s voice returns: “Yes. He had a heart attack.”

I keep hearing the song “She’s out of my life.” (Michael Jackson) It’s very sad.

Then I hear another voice. It is Stuart Wilde saying: “I’d like to thank her.”

Next I am hearing words from the Cold Chisel song “Flame Trees”:

“There’s no change. There’s no pace. Everything within its place. Just makes it harder to believe that she won’t be around”.

There is a sense of sadness and emptiness, like just after someone dies or leaves....

***

Stuart Wilde died of a heart attack a week after I had this dream.





Dean Radin said...

> I don't think Dean Radin or most other parapsychologists take their dissidence lightly.

True. It took me a while to realize that science operates just like any other realm of human affairs -- by appeal to authority and (by its close cousin) conforming to the status quo. The intensity of conformity is stronger in academia than in industrial research, but it is solidly present in both domains. Fortunately, most of science can continue to bubble along very nicely within the box of the status quo. At least for a while.

But at the ragged edge of the known, which is where all of the truly exciting science takes place, the status quo is exactly the wrong place to be.

A minority of students who haven't had their curiosity completely squashed by 20 years of education will eventually grok that conventional thinking about the far reaches of reality is far too restrictive and unimaginative. Those rare birds are going to create the world of tomorrow. Everyone else, including people who proudly wear buttons declaring that they are "skeptics," will strive to sustain the world of yesterday.

Mark Szlazak said...

Groupthink:
Collective Delusions in Organizations and Markets

http://www.princeton.edu/~rbenabou/papers/Groupthink%20IOM%202012_07_02%20BW.pdf

Ben Steigmann said...

I have recently become aware that counter-advocate wiki editors have been tracking this thread, and I commend one of them for fixing the errors in the Honorton article [the claim of errors is false as was noted: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:Ganzfeld_experiment&diff=prev&oldid=600945566#Removed_factual_errors, but that still is a correction]. I had felt, and this fueled some of my hostility, that editors were intent on using anything they could, real or false, to discredit parapsychologists and their subjects. Thus I made hostile remarks, though not with libelous intent (e.g. - if you see the Facebook comments on FWH Myers above, you will see that I have rebutted what I felt to be libelous information - for the most part this was in the disputed source material, though Alan Gauld's text, cited in the article, was misrepresented - extracts are given). It seems that this is not the case now - it could be argued that there still is the intent on omitting rebuttals to the opinions of the counteradvocates of various articles, but that is a separate matter. The following is a test to see if I am correct, here are some notable problems:

1) On the Targ page "the continued investigation of remote viewing is regarded as pseudocience" - this is not in the source texts themselves, which merely convey the view that remote viewing is a paranormal claim that has been refuted.[counters to this are not the point here, the point is that even the counter-advocate literature is being creatively interpreted, or misinterpreted]

2) On the Eusapia Palladino and Hereward Carrington pages, we find that "Frank Podmore in his book The Newer Spiritualism (1910) wrote a comprehensive critique of the Feilding report. According to Podmore the report provided insufficient information at crucial moments and the witness accounts from the investigators contained contradictions and inconsistences on who was holding Palladino's feet and hands.[34] Podmore discovered various statements by the investigators conflicted with each other on what they claimed to have observed. Some of the statements were also written days after the events took place. Podmore wrote the report "at almost every point leaves obvious loopholes for trickery." - the claim of contradictions is based on a misreading as I have shown here: http://deanradin.blogspot.com/2014/02/eileen-garrett-in-wikipedia.html?showComment=1395219134682#c6816234997612691589

A better reworking of this, ignoring the fact that it could be challenged, is "Frank Podmore in his book The Newer Spiritualism (1910) wrote a comprehensive critique of the Feilding report. According to Podmore the report provided insufficient information at crucial moments.[34] Some of the statements were also written days after the events took place. Podmore wrote the report "at almost every point leaves obvious loopholes for trickery."

3) In the DD Home article, without even challenging the rest of the source literature, there is a fabricated attribution to Podmote - "Frank Podmore recorded that Home had a constant companion that sat opposite of him during his séances.[88]" - the source is Podmore "Mediums of the Nineteenth Century, Part 1." 2003 p45

According to Worldcat this is a "Reprint. Previously published: New Hyde Park, N.Y. : University Books, 1963.": http://www.worldcat.org/title/mediums-of-the-19th-century/oclc/420487500

I don't have access to the 2003 version, but I do have access to the 1963 version that this was a reprint of, and I found that this was a fabrication: https://ia601200.us.archive.org/13/items/NotesonSpiritualismandPsychicalResearch/PodmoreMediums.pdf

Ben Steigmann said...

If people disbelieve me, try this - search both volumes of Podmore's "modern spiritualism" for "Home", "Hume", "companion", "lady", "female", "girl", or "woman" - these are available online: https://archive.org/details/modernspirituali01podm, https://archive.org/details/modernspiritual00podmgoog - it is possible I overlooked something, but I doubt others will find this. If they do, they should be able to link to the independently verifiable "modern spiritualism" reference.

4) There is [disputable] original research regarding Home vs other mediums like Palladino on the DD Home page - some of this is false, like assertions about Eglinton - counter-advocate editors might actually want to remove the reference regarding his alleged levitation with Kellar, because that if pursued, actually argues in his favor, contrary to the rendition in the article: http://deanradin.blogspot.com/2014/02/eileen-garrett-in-wikipedia.html?showComment=1394359021580#c3651037954951859194 - this is on both the DD Home and Eglinton pages.

5) There is also a bunch of incorrect original research in the article -regarding Crookes and names and spirits - the first is refuted if you consider the following - near the beginning of the text, there is a sentence "The investigators present on the test occasion were an eminent physicist, high in the ranks of the Royal Society, whom I will call Dr. A. B.; a well-known Serjeant-at-Law, whom I will call Serjeant C. D.; my brother; and my chemical assistant.*" - the footnote is clickable, upon which we read "* It argues ill for the boasted freedom of opinion among scientific men, that they have so long refused to institute a scientific investigation into the existence and nature of facts asserted by so many competent and credible witnesses, and which they are freely invited to examine when and where they please. For my own part, I too much value the pursuit of truth, and the discovery of any new fact in nature, to avoid enquiry because it appears to clash with prevailing opinions. But as I have no right to assume that others are equally willing to do this, I refrain from mentioning the names of my friends without their permission."; the second is refuted if you just search for the term "phantom forms and faces": http://www.esalen.org/ctr-archive/crookes-researches.html

If editors correct these five errors, a simple task, it would help in exonerating them. A 2 week period should be a good enough amount of time for this. Otherwise, we could say that my original feelings were correct.

This is actually advantageous to counter-advocate editors, as whatever "trolling" they think I do in this would then be unfounded, and I would have to resort to only engaging the counter-advocate material, without reference to editors.

Blissentia said...

I will also note that people accuse "believers" of not reading the skeptic literature - however, Eric Dingwall was very familiar with this literature, having listed it in the bibliography of his "revelations of a spirit medium", yet he wrote reviews of some of these authors (like McCabe) noting their unreliability, and he wrote, with the science writer John Langdon-Davies, in "The Unknown - Is it Nearer?" an overview of the mediumship of Leonora Piper and Gladys-Osborne Leonard that is in conflict with the current wikipedia travesty on this (for the latter, the "skeptic" attacks totally fraudulently misrepresent the primary sources): http://survivalafterdeath.info/articles/dingwall-davies/mental.htm

People who pursue the Myers link will discover that some of this literature is fraudulent, producing statements in conflict with the primary sources.

CropCircleQueen said...

Being in the Internet age, where things that regularly were assailed by skeptics now are subjects on prominent display, with intelligent voices exchanging information that refutes the debunkers, I bet we are in a slow turning toward what will yield results in acceptance of cutting edge work. Surely the arrow of evolution points to greater and greater insight and awareness about how the universe works, beyond the limited concepts of the prevailing worldview, so cheers from me for all the intelligence that is rolling us toward new understandings.

Ben Steigmann said...

It would appear I was quite mistaken in my view that editors would want to correct the aforementioned errors (the companion item still appears, etc).

A couple items that may help us in deciding the authenticity of the case are as follows:
https://ia601200.us.archive.org/13/items/NotesonSpiritualismandPsychicalResearch/DdHomeAmsterdam_Zorab_JpVolume34_pg52to68.pdf
https://ia601200.us.archive.org/13/items/NotesonSpiritualismandPsychicalResearch/ZorabReviewOfHall_JpVolume49_pg104to106.pdf

Ben Steigmann said...

And this, too, is interesting, though not as much as the above: https://ia601200.us.archive.org/13/items/NotesonSpiritualismandPsychicalResearch/BritishJournalofPsychologyDingwallPsychologicalProblemsArisingfromaReportofTelekinesisFebrurary11953.pdf

Enfant Terrible said...

Dean, do you already saw these articles?

a) http://www.gahmj.com/doi/abs/10.7453/gahmj.2014.014

b) http://www.gahmj.com/doi/abs/10.7453/gahmj.2014.012

Dean Radin said...

Enfant - Yes I've seen those articles.

Mark Szlazak said...

I think everyone will appreciate this presentation on group think.

Alvesson: Stupidity based organization (good on media&corps too) lth.se/fileadmin/indek2013/pro…onal_stupidity_scaIEM.pdf

IreneSoldatos said...

Dean, I was just wondering whether there are any news on the response Julia and you were going to write to the Schwarzkopf opinion piece.

Dean Radin said...

The response is completed and will be posted soon.

Larry Grant said...

Hello Professor Radin:

This is an article I would like you to read but I cannot get it into the space of your blog as it is about 13000 characters long. I’m a retired broadcast radio engineer and electronics designer and have studied something I think you should know about in relation to ’Supernormal.’ and the Siddhis.

Any way I can send you the rest of this?

---

Having just finished ‘Superpowers’ I want to congratulate you on continuing to be the Cirque du Soliel no-net high wire Psi writer par-excellence.

If you are to realize the superpowers inherent in the Siddhis, including technologising the appropriate ones we have not done already, you need to learn about the power sources used by the adepts and ancients to produce high-energy effects. In order to find those dynamos I think you might want to understand the real-estate notion of;

Location! Location! Location!

…a little better.

Certainly you are aware that some places for meditation are preferable over others, and that some temples, monasteries, castles, fortresses, towers, menhirs, dolmens, and many other ancient stone constructions are placed on sites that are almost impossible to get to, like near mountain peaks, and/or impossible to live in, far out in nasty deserts.

Let me show you a path which hopefully will describe why location is a powerful idea.

The short answer is Dark Matter/Energy Vents searched out by dowsers, seers and meditators.

(A short aside. It is not certain that these vents are actually caused by dark matter and dark energy. They are definitely real and caused by something highly unusual and outside our current science. If not dark matter or dark energy then there is still more to discover beyond those fairly new concepts. For now let’s call them dark world effects because my own study suggests the world of dark matter and dark energy, which promises physical structure and energy flow comes closest to the reality I’m trying to describe)

Dark World vents are specific real world physical locations where jets of dark matter pressurized by energy spray upward from the ground surface through something like real world holes. The most accurate analog I can find is that of high pressure steam as expressed in geysers like those in Yellowstone National Park. There are thousands of these vents globally. They range in size from Millimeters to hundreds of miles in diameter. The fundamental energy source boiling that dark matter is likely heat from the Earth’s mantle or below. The reason we don’t know about them generally is the same as the reason we know so little about paranormal activity, very few if any capable researchers will look.

I can presently distinguish two different types of vent. One appears to be an open hole which sprays something like water into the air in an undirected way. The other type of vent exhausts through a dark matter tube which can reach into the sky as far as 20 to 200 miles. The tubular type is what I have done the largest study of. This type is likely the cause of both aerial ‘sprites’ and Terence McKennas’ ‘Jungle’ in the sky and all around. I also think it is the cause of radio blocking and electrical failures.

I don’t know where you stand on ‘Crop Circles’ but I have studied this subject for some 25 years and have done field work in two U.S. west coast circles. The mind that generates crop circles appears to use the active parts of tubular vents as the source of power for creating the circles, some of which require rather massive power sources to create as they involve large area heating and boiling of water in addition to bending crops. I hope this subject doesn’t put you off because crop circles are one of the most interesting studies of paranormal effects and applications of un-described energy sources one could find. I have personally experienced the battery short-circuiting effect I describe below.

larrybgrant44@gmail.com

CropCircleQueen said...

Thinking to mention I didn't notice anyone in the comments saying anything about Russell Targ's remote viewing work, where a project to predict silver futures earned a lot of money, I had to take off to pick someone up at the airport. Turning on my car radio to the progressive L.A. station, KPFK, I didn't know Dean's voice and was just listening to someone talking my language,when, lo an behold, it was Dean. Come on. What was that all about?

Larry Grant said...

Vents Continued

Pardon my mis-naming ‘Supernormal!’

It is a good idea to keep the following image in mind because it shows just how close we sit to a really huge, quite acceptable source of energy:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/07/Earth_poster.svg

Given the size and proximity of that heat engine and the relatively tiny size that we are individually one might consider that any slight reaction that dark matter or dark energy could have to that massive amount of heat would be pretty huge and impressive to us, almost volcanic in scale. Since any such reaction could reside inside, behind or outside of Space-Time we might find it a little bizarre.

Counterintuitive even.

The combined effect of some of the largest of these tubular vents and the serpentine electric style Jacob’s ladder dark energy arcs that buzz between them is the creation of reality and life on our planet.

These are the functional parts of another accurate idea from Ancient India; that reality is a projection which has some kind of projector.

This path leads in to that huge, amazing projector. Along the path we can find that another idea from ancient India, the ‘Yuga,’ is also real. The projector is gaining strength now from the advance of our path through the positive side of the current Yuga cycle and quite unusual experiences are just ahead.

Since we seem to be fresh out of seers, we generally don’t appreciate dowsers and good meditation can take considerable time and effort to perfect we might hope for less ambiguous, more modern ways to locate and explore these vents and their peculiar effects, possibly some kind of electronic instrument with which to technologically characterize the location, intensity and other qualities of various vents.

As we might see on the path that instrument would allow us to measure the potential contact points between science and religion.

One reasonable way to find these vents examines the expensive effects they can have on radio wave propagation and electric power transmission described below.

The effects that the vents can have on radio wave propagation are what first drew my attention to them……

And the path begins.

Through the 1960’s and the 70’s I Chief Engineered for several local commercial radio stations.

Chiefly camaraderie drew my attention to the idea of dead spots, holes in coverage areas. Many of these are quite understandable, shadows from mountains, power lines, high towers, tall or large buildings with internal metal structures, all these can play a role in poor radio reception.

I also became aware of much uglier holes that were not explainable and which could seriously dent your reputation in the engineering biz because when you are on the carpet before management you never want to admit that ‘I haven’t a single clue’ as to what is wrecking their coverage.

I dodged those bullets for a few years but some wizardry demonstrated in rebuilding a broadcast studio for the owners of a chain of FM radio stations got their interest up and I soon was told a very sad story.

They owned a station which competed with many others for the attention of a huge city. In a stunning coup they had scored a mountaintop to broadcast from which promised a very solid coverage of the city from end to end and far beyond. At great expense they prepared the mountain-top, cleared a mass of permit requirements and moved their transmitter and antenna to the new spot.

A few weeks after going on the air from the new location they suddenly got a huge number of phone calls from people asking if they were off the air. A quick check at the station showed that they were certainly on the air. Then suddenly the calls stopped, leaving them totally confused.

The problem repeated again and again, suddenly their signal would go completely dead in the same large section of the city even though it was fine everywhere else.

Larry Grant said...

Vents Continues

Over time and several engineers and consulting firms they were no better off than at the start. They had a rough map of a section of the city sketched out by engineers making signal measurements and that didn’t help a thing. The best comments by the engineers were that the signal ‘sure was dead’ in that area and that it sure was normal when the deadening effect shut down.

They had also noted that you could stand with a very good receiver at many points within the dead zone and look directly at the transmitting antenna high on the mountain and see absolutely nothing unusual but there was no detectable signal being received at all. Something totally invisible could block the signal from their mountain top completely. Meanwhile all the other stations came in fine.

An enormous effort had already been put in. Many days of signal strength readings from all over the dead zone, lots of physical searching to see if anything even remotely suspect could be turned up, nothing helped. No blanking from spurious signals could be found. From time to time the phones would chorus ‘Are you off the air?’ and a quick round of antacid tablets was the only real response.

I would like to brag that I solved this impossible problem but in fact my suggestion to them today would be the same as they did not want to hear then: “Move to another mountain.” I did have the sense to quietly slink out of their lives, shunning a good job as chief for a chain and losing a bit of face but nothing like the huge amount of time I could have wasted chasing a literal Will O’ the Wisp around and around at great expense and getting no where but eventually fired.

I now know that what they were suffering from was an intermittently operative Dark Worlds vent, not unlike an invisible Yellowstone Geyser trashing their signal while it is erupting.

A few years later I found out from an engineer who installs cellphone base stations that the same kind of holes exist in some locations in cellphone networks and in at least one video studio to transmitter link. There is also a very interesting vent related electrical short circuiting effect which appears able to quite mysteriously fail any power source from batteries to power distribution lines and which is basically impossible to cure.

In fact, the easiest way to define a dark world conflict with our technologies, particularly radio communications and electric power distribution generally is:

Enormous time, effort, expertise, money and thought has been brought against the problem and everyone involved is still as stumped as at the beginning. The problem continues unaffected and the cause remains a permanent and discouraging mystery. I have a reference where it appears that an entire expensive power distribution line installation had to be taken out because the mysterious intermittent short circuiting on it could not be located or cured. That is a typical dark worlds problem.

I cannot say how widespread these problems are because the industries involved seldom if ever discuss these important internal failures but I have seen enough to suspect that the problems are fairly widespread where-ever electrical power or radio is employed.

Of course the door was always open with my sad radio folks, if only I could solve that bizarre signal blocking problem.

So I started digging for information and found that officially the data on really difficult radio propagation problems was sparse to none. Whilst scrounging in my local college library I decided to try the Parapsychology section and started reading the ‘Journal of the American Parapsychological Association.’ I didn’t find any direct help there but I did get addicted to reading that journal once I found the bit about the German law firm clerk who caused unaccountable heavy power drains, rampant unsourced telephone dialing and large hutch movement. As a lifelong energy nut case I was suddenly aware of how much energy plays a part in paranormal activity.

Larry Grant said...

Vents Continues

But not any form of energy I was aware of. So I consumed their whole journal set and a large portion of the books surrounding it. The sense of unusual energy forms continued throughout that reading and all the masses of descriptions of this energy in action formed a kind of framework to work in.

Something like five years into this casual research I found the collections of William Corliss of the ‘Sourcebook Project.’ After a while I had the answer staring me in the face, a feeling but not a detailed description. Another long period passed as I slowly narrowed my interest down to ‘Marine Phosphorescent Wheels.’ As I studied this fascinating subject through piles of reports, built careful mental pictures of what the reports were describing and combined descriptions from other reports I could see that these were no simple effect of tiny glowing phosphorescent sea critters but massive vertical beams of energy with seawater or aerial moisture acting as a revealing agent not unlike the way the phosphors on the screen of a CRT reveal the electron beam impacting on them.

My own background is in commercial radio engineering and analog/digital/hardware/software design. I manufactured early microprocessor controlled devices sold into the broadcasting and emergency services (fire and police) markets through my own company.

Mas Pronto

Larry Grant

larrybgrant44@gmail.com

Sylvain Frédéric Nahas said...

@Larry Grant

Fascinating read in any case.
Thanks.

Larry Grant said...

Part 1

So what is a ‘Marine Phosphorescent Wheel? The name says little, something round and glowing in the sea maybe.

If you study and combine the reports from both of William Corliss books; ‘Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights and Related Phenomena’
and ‘Remarkable Luminous Phenomena in Nature’ much of a complete picture can be built.

Let’s say you are a sailor high up in the crow’s nest on an old sail driven cargo ship in the South China Sea. It is a wonderful evening
with brilliant stars and endless visibility all around.

You notice that the sea around your ship begins to flicker with short, dim, almost lightning like bursts of blue light. You begin looking
down at the water surface with great curiosity.

Then suddenly a huge and brilliant spectacle appears in green, silvery white or brilliant gold light. The basic pattern is shown in the
little thumbnail of what might be called a ‘Sunburst’ or ‘Starburst’ that I use in place of my puglymug on Google,
that yellow and black wheel just to the left of the top of this text. Seen from straight above
that is the glowing pattern you would observe spinning on the sea surface below you or just above the surface by a few feet. It looks
as though your ship is sailing across this enormous, brilliant, rapidly spinning wheel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVsW7V8L2_U

It’s very much like an old movie marquee that uses alternating lamp flashes to cause the sensation of smooth movement, much like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BsU-QO-S7w

The spinning wheel effect may last as much as an hour or more before flickering out. It is typically so bright that you can easily read a newspaper by it.

The sunburst is also an image of local energy intensity driving the display. Yellow is positive energy polarity, Black is, perhaps strangely, negative polarity.

The appearance of anything energetic on the sea surface that has
astonishingly neat and crisp geometry is highly unlikely but there it is in front of you. The circle has a wonderfully sharp and delineated
outer rim. The wedges from which the circle is formed have almost eerily straight sides and none of that geometry seems affected by the
low waves it is taking place among.

You may consider the idea that what you are seeing is masses of phosphorescent organisms glowing unusually brightly and in impossibly
perfect geometries and synchrony but many times the brilliant glow can be seen up to a few feet above the water’s surface where no glowing organisms exist.

While it is spinning you may realize that you can see it spin clockwise and someone standing next to you watching the display may say at
the same moment that it is spinning counterclockwise. That is a major clue about the real nature of this ‘wheel.’ The sense of movement is
false, an effect caused by rapid, synchronous oscillation of the lighted wedges. The wedges are each alternately turning bright or dark at a
frequency of 10 to 80 flashes per second.

At a very high rate of speed each glowing wedge goes bright and dark over it’s compete area at once, even in huge displays that stretch from
horizon to horizon. The alternate bright and dark wedges do not physically move, the movement is an optical illusion very much like the marquee
display.

Between the high speed of oscillation and the lack of glowing critters in the air above the water normal ocean phosphorescence is pretty
much removed from the picture. That leaves no source for the brilliant light, no explanation for the oscillation.

Some reports remark that if you look straight down from over the ship’s railing you can see what look like intense searchlights
that seem mounted on the sea bottom, one light per circle in multi-circle displays. The sense is that the lights remain columnar from sea
bottom to surface, another anomaly.

Larry Grant said...

Part 2

Other details emerge more slowly.

A bright wedge may realistically seem to be energized but it might come as a surprise that the black wedge is actually carrying a negative charge, an opposite polarity
from that of a bright wedge. Unlike a movie marquee which uses lamps which are bright or dark, on or off the oscillation in a sea wheel causes two polarities to appear, one positive,
one negative. Corliss has reports of ships crossing stable, large rectangular areas in the sea where one rectangle is ‘blacker than black’ and the next is steadily glowing a brilliant silvery
color.

Even a superficial energy analysis suggests the immense amount of raw power needed to generate these huge, sometimes horizon to horizon displays.
That power level becomes even larger when one considers that the water, an accidental revealing agent is likely fairly inefficient so that a considerably
higher level of energy is required to drive the display to the extreme brilliance it achieves.

Further research in other related areas suggests that the circularity, the outside shape of the round circular display is caused by the containment of this energy flow inside a round,
hard tube that remains invisible because it does not have enough energy flowing through the hard surface to cause it to illuminate. In another section of his books Corliss has reports of tubular
rises in sea water surface level that are steady and suggest water drawn up a tube by pressure differential. Those rises amount to several feet.

What can be extracted from the reports and descriptions is that something like pressurized steam rising very rapidly up invisible tubes breaks into oscillation at some pressure point, just
as air breaks into oscillation in a pipe organ tube. The two are not only similar but in the interesting way our real world and this dark world interact the organ pipe is truly a mimic of
these immense invisible oscillating tubes. When oscillating these tubes contain a very low single frequency note of immense power that we cannot normally hear.

While it may be particularly unusual that the energy waves inside the tube assume an axial regime, they radiate out from the center of the tube the result of this interesting
pie-wedge oscillation is quite spectacular. Changing the rough, randomized motion of the fluid whooshing up the tube into a steady oscillatory note
tends to focus the energy around a specific frequency which is a way of boosting the effective power in the oscillation by a considerable multiplier.

If we look at the positioning of each wedge it is apparent that we have areas right along the straight lines, the edges of the wedges where two opposite charges are placed very close together.
In practice even a circle many miles in diameter has a separation between what might be considered the high voltage wedges of only a few inches. This may seem counterintuitive
especially if one notices that the tube is likely to be conductive but inside waveguides for microwave transmission the same kind of situation can be set up, very high and opposite
potentials placed fairly close together on a conductive surface, but with one curious difference. In a regular wave guide the internal wave form is sinusoidal, the energy peaks are separated by areas of
lessening and lessening voltage and then reversal and a sinusoidal increase in level until the opposite peak is reached.

In the oscillation of these unusual dark world tubes the waveform appears to be a very sharp, very high speed square wave. The wedges change state virtually instantaneously. This generates a
powerful set of evenly spaced harmonic frequencies above whatever fundamental the column is oscillating at.

Larry Grant said...

Part 3

The immense energetic stress across these few inches of space between the wedges produces an astonishing result. A deep red glow begins to emit from the narrow space. That glow can usually only be perceived by ’seers’
but if the level is great enough it becomes visible to us less talented folk. I’ve observed this effect at night in a crop circle. It is an amazing sight. The straightest edge one
could possibly perceive in what looks like a very narrow brightly glowing red wall running across the circle I was standing in. It was only brief, a few seconds, but once you see it you’ll never forget it.

From my own observation any source of electricity placed in that glowing wall will be short circuited. I discharged 15 ‘AA’ batteries scattered among several different pieces of research
gear in a matter of ten seconds. Having heard that short circuited batteries could be experienced in a crop circle I was both pleased and a bit scorched as I quickly pulled the too
hot to touch batteries out of their various holders and put them in a plastic baggie I had brought just in case. Within a few minutes several of the batteries were vigorously leaking
their fluid alkaline contents, a sure sign of severe battery abuse. I had accidentally (?) laid out my gear for use right on a spot the wall passed through. The batteries in my video-cam and my SLR camera
left outside the wall were not affected. This was not a surprise, on my first visit to a crop circle one month earlier I had two ‘AA’ batteries short out in one of my two SLRs which
melted some plastic in the camera and ruined it forever. $150.00 down the drain in few smelly, scorched plastic seconds.

It was interesting to note that the red wall ran right below a power pole across the field where the farmer had previously described that the transformer atop the pole had ‘exploded’ one recent afternoon
and the fire department had to come and extinguish that corner of his wheat field. He also said that while his several harvesters were setting near the pole they all kept being found with dead batteries
each morning. He also reported that the previous evening to his finding the circle in his field he had been in his harvester maintenance shed when the lights all went out. While they were
out he heard the most ferocious crackling sound like intense electrical effects that came in through the shed door, hovered in front of him for a moment and then left the shed in the direction
of the crop circle, which he found by following the sound.

Any flat surface that will conduct electricity effectively enough to rapidly discharge batteries presents the possibility of reflecting radio waves out of their intended path.
Therefore the wall would create an effective shadow on the opposite side from any impinging radio transmission. So the appearance and disappearance of one of these walls
in the path of the radio signal from my sad radio friends transmitter would cause their ulcers and Maalox consumption by perfectly blocking their signal over a ‘shadowed’ area, intermittently.

Their antenna was about 150’ up on a tower and the wall likely appeared somewhere down their mountain side so in order to shadow their signal over an area
as big as their problem was would likely take a very, very big wall. But hey! Geology and geologically generated effects like earthquakes tend to be very big and
this red glowing wall is geologically based so I suppose the sky is the limit, if that.

So I did figure out their problem, only about 20 years to late! By then they had all died and the station had moved on to new owners who I never contacted
because I still could offer no cure and the problem was basically impossible to explain. I also did not know whether in the interim they had
moved to another mountain top.

Larry Grant said...

Part 4

But wait! There’s More!

That narrow red wall, the highest intensity portion in what can be an otherwise invisible oscillating circle was obviously highly prized by our ancestors, and others.

Straight lines and straight roads are a very big mystery globally. We mostly hear about mysterious straight roads in relation to Chaco Canyon in the San Juan basin in New Mexico.

There are many other straight roads in various countries.

Among the first authors to describe the mystery of ’Old Straight Tracks’ was Alfred Watkins in 1925.
He described how straight roads and tracks connect many of the ancient sites which are prolifically scattered about the U.K.

A good history and description of the mystery of these roads is by Paul Deveraux, it is found here:

http://www.pauldevereux.co.uk/html/body_leylines.html

Among several curiosities of these roads is that they are typically impossibly straight. They plunge ahead through mountains, streams, rivers, cliffs and over steep ridges. Nothing
diverts them. In New Mexico they run right up to the bases of bluffs and then continue perfectly on the other side as though the bluff was not even there.

Just about the biggest mystery of the straight roads is how they were made so straight for such great distances in times without any accurate surveying gear.
Especially how did the road builders manage to keep the alignments exactly straight from one side of a mountain to another where
there was no possibility of using sighting or any other visual means of aligning the road into the landscape?

Actually the layout was the easy part. If you know when a local wheel is going to be active you simply watch for and
then mark on the soil surface the narrow straight path of the red wall which, because it rises up from deep beneath the
landscape passes mountains and all other obstacles without wavering. If your path along the wall is interrupted by
any obstacle you just go around the obstacle and continue marking. Later you can follow your marks to build a
flattened path or road.

Another hint that the straight roads are not primarily for human travel is that they take absolutely none of the
common monetary or physical effort economies of road building. No short-cuts, no advantages of topology or terrain and no sweeping curves. They shoot straight
across the landscape oblivious to any common sense at all. Any turns are made up of several short, straight segments.

In the San Juan basin the roads are built with a technological structure, possibly a centering
or focussing device. The roads all have a layer of small stones under the surface. These stones are graded from
road center to the road edge, largest most plentiful stones along the road center and smaller more scattered stones toward
the edge in a measurable and consistent gradient. Watkins also notes an interesting layer of small stones under the surface of
the old straight tracks in the U.K.

So what were these roads for? There are thousands of miles of them scattered all about the globe. That much effort
is not going to be expended just for the fun of it as there is no fun in road building! So what could be so
important that such an enormous physical labor is put in over thousands of years? Additionally, examination of the sub-surface
beneath the San Juan basin roads and elsewhere on the Nazca lines shows that the present roads are underlain by previous
roads that have been built over and those roads may have further layers of roads from even farther back deep into the
mists of time.

Larry Grant said...

Part 5

The answer begins to form in a book by John Michell titled ‘Secrets of the Stones.’

In Bolivia there are vast amounts of landscape given over to the straight tracks and there you can see
in pictures from his book that the lines are along spokes of gigantic wheels just as the wheels appear
at sea. The lines in Bolivia are not as developed as in New Mexico but they are obviously the same
long distance amazingly straight artifacts as all the others. You can see a bit of this from the Amazon
snippets of his book but I was not successful in pulling out one of the best pages, page 99, for there
all is revealed. You may have to purchase this excellent book for yourself.

In the picture from page 99 we look down a long line toward a wheel hub center. There in the distance sitting on
the wheel hub center is a church.

This is fitting. The Aymara Indians in this area of Bolivia keep the lines perpetually clear of vegetation.
They state that all supernatural effects take place at spots along these straight lines and at those spots they
place various shrines. ‘Supernatural Effects’ in this case can mean Visions of a woman with 12 stars
around her head as described here:

http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_15_2_pandarakalam.pdf

‘Supernatural Effects’ also includes falls of fish, frogs, manna and a wide variety of
other seemingly impossible occurrences, that take place along ’narrow strips a few feet
wide traveling straight over the landscape.’

In the San Juan basin the roads have small, half circle piled-stone shrines scattered along the roads.

In India the straight lines have shrines placed along them where spirits called ‘Nagas’ dwell.

The best summary of this angle of the red-wall based lines is the following site. The site has an index which
is a bit subtle. I have included the following set of URL’s which access
the important pages. Still, there is one important picture showing the lines in a clear wheel shape but
I cannot for the world find it on this site again.

The introduction explains the scale of these lines. Be sure to click-enlarge all pictures for study.

http://cml.upenn.edu/tierrasajama/Sajama_English/intro/introindex.htm

More description and purpose of study:

http://cml.upenn.edu/tierrasajama/Sajama_English/context/contindex.htm

A most interesting page:

http://cml.upenn.edu/tierrasajama/Sajama_English/hypo/hypoindex.htm

Here is an excellent summary of info about these lines:

http://cml.upenn.edu/tierrasajama/Sajama_English/res/FAQ.htm

More tierrasajama pictorial info:

http://cml.upenn.edu/tierrasajama/Sajama_English/proc/datcon.htm

http://cml.upenn.edu/tierrasajama/sajama_english/context/sajama.htm

On a much larger scale the study of these straight lines, wheels and hubs is
called Geomancy. Here is an explanatory example of that subject.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j__7EdwLDyE&list=PL41F5CFCE29A4B2A7&index=14

What is being illustrated in Geomancy is not necessarily the lines from one wheel but
rather an interconnected complex of many wheels which has become known as a
‘World Grid.’

That concept is illustrated on this cover. It is possible that this cover illustration is a form of schematic
diagram of one aspect of the projector:

http://www.amazon.com/Anti-Gravity-World-Science-Adventures-Unlimited/dp/0932813038/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404337381&sr=8-1&keywords=childress+world+grid

Larry Grant said...

Part 6

I tend to suggest that at one time or another in history parts of all of these straight lines have popped up
the red wall effect and that the orientations found in Geomancy are all based on those straight red walls
either becoming strong enough for the locals to see them, or dowse them or to be spotted by people who seem
to have a talent for seeing them. This form of layout avoids the need for surveying and allows peoples
in ancient times to create these gigantic, hyper-straight line patterns with no surveying tools at all.

The largest and most powerful hubs are called: ‘Flowers of Life,’ or ‘Navel of the World.”

One interesting ‘Flower of Life’ wheel hub termed the ‘Center of the Inca World’ is in Cuzco, Peru.

This is how it is represented, with the positions of shrines along each line clearly illustrated as small circles along the lines.

http://photosbyravi.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/qorikancha-the-center-of-the-seqe-system-of-the-incas.jpg

Variations on the landscape represented in this colorful diagram could be projected almost anywhere on our planet’s surface.
The power of the shrine locations and the hubs will still be there but will not be marked on maps or noted generally.

Given the density of modern housing now and again a house or other building is going to be
inadvertently placed on one of these active spots. That building has the potential to be active whenever the main wheel
is oscillating and those times will be completely unknown to the occupants. So the building very likely will be termed
‘Haunted.’ because from time to time very strange things will occur within.

That’s an important point about the red wall effect. When the wall is active reality takes a vacation and all sorts of
curiosities can take place. Additionally there appears to be a recording effect associated with these active ‘shrine’ locations
such that if a highly emotionally charged occurrence, a murder for example takes place
during oscillation a kind of playback of some piece of the occurrence
can intermittently occur for a long time after the initial incident.

What remains unrealized in these cases is that the presence of the active spot may help precipitate the highly
emotional incident in the first place, a different take on hauntings.

There was a description of a very curious house near Chicago, if memory serves, that would shoot flames from the
wall sockets now and again, setting fire to curtains and nearby objects. Nobody saw the intermittent red wall but that is the likely
cause. That house had to eventually be bulldozed.

Remembering that the red wall is not a steady current flow but is actually a low frequency (10-80 Hz) Alternating Current just like our own AC power grids
brings an explanation for the various humming sounds reported from telephones used to try and call outside during hauntings
and other paranormal activity. Rotary telephones contained several inductors, medium sized coils of wire on iron cores
that could easily be affected by the Red Wall currents, thus the hums. I would be interested to know if those humming
sounds have continued with the advent of modern inductor-less telephones and cell phones but have not seen any data.

Here is an excellent example of what can happen when the shaft energies achieve really powerful levels. Note the mentions
of cars inexplicably quitting in the tunnels under the town and of course what life in the town is like. The article also mentions a few
other places that obviously have Red Wall problems. It is interesting to note that Canneto is only a short distance from a huge and
very active volcano, Mt. Etna which effectively brings a powerful heat energy source up closer to the surface than is usual in most other places:

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2013/01/13/canneto-a-double-mystery-still-unsolved/

Larry Grant said...

Part 7

After our short excursion to Sicily we return to the Cuzco wheel and hub.

The hub center for this wheel has a curious tub-like container sitting on it called the ‘Coricancha,’ shown here with
two dowsers exploring both the connected lines (actually picked out in the floor of the enclosure)
and the spin, rotation or vortex effect caused by the oscillation of the wheel which is obviously
still very active. The ‘Flower of Life’ title comes in part from the detection of curved, petal like
shapes close in to the center of this huge wheel. Watch the dowser pick out the shape of one petal (part way through video).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3E2LDcXi4No

While Brien notes that the container might be filled with something exotic during ceremonies it is likely
that the tub was filled with one of the most hyper-exotic substances known to history, plain tap water.
What is desired is a super-flat surface for the hub energy to exit the earth through. Flat surfaces are the
reason behind much of the ancient road construction which requires that the vegetation be held back
because it distorts the rising hub energy in some important way and that the straight road surface be as smooth as
possible. Apparently the red wall effect is required in a pure, undistorted form during professional application.

The ‘Straight Tracks’ in the U.K. apparently have the shrine spots on the tracks marked by small, perpetually rain
filled puddles with one edge a tiny bluff and the other a smooth, tapered shore. The orientation of each puddle is the
same all along the line, all tiny bluffs face the same way, for example.

What are these shrine spots about? It is sort of intuitive, at least to me, that the lines should come up from the
earth fairly evenly but that seems not to be true. These hot spots where shrines can be located may have a deeper source.

If we return to the Cuzco Wheel painting:

http://photosbyravi.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/qorikancha-the-center-of-the-seqe-system-of-the-incas.jpg

On the right side in blue note the thin blue wiggly lines joining the shrine spots together. These are ‘Serpent,’
‘Snake’ or ‘Dragon’ lines, a subject for later discussion. Note that they cross at the shrine spots. As picked
out by Hamish Miller and Paul Broadhurst in “The Sun and the Serpent” the shrine cross points have all kinds
of sacred things, from churches to holy wells placed on them. Unused ones seem to disappear under thorny
thickets as mythically exposited in “Sleeping Beauty” when she pricks her self on a ‘spinning wheel,’ falls into a deep
sleep (drifts through time without aging i.e. she has been removed to another time frame) and her magical castle is buried in thorns.

At the shrine locations Miller, the dowser, finds indications of further vent-spots with the energy going
up into the sky or down into the earth at these spots. So these shrine points along the Red Wall are places
of further vents and likely more powerful activity.

Here is another hub center which has enough energy still going that Brien remarks right at the end
that he can feel it coming up through his feet. Note the flower-petal shapes in the stones just outside the
center ring for this ancient construction. These likely visualize the flower shape for people who cannot see
or otherwise detect the circle energy directly. The part described begins at 4:58 into the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z709HAeEp_M

For an interesting experience try Google Earth buzzing around central Paris, France at an eye level of about
5000’. Paris is a whole city laid out on a plain of circle hubs. That undoubtedly plays a part in the
character of this amazing city.

Larry Grant said...

Part 8

Here are a couple of movies demonstrating how some ancients who knew perfectly well what the lines
are about and how to use them liked to brag about it. It may also be demonstrating that the lines
used this way are allowing a being from another dimension (or where-ever) to enter our own. This is
how that being might look if you were standing talking to him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GifH8zOJtKg

And a movie of how the wheels appear out at sea as seen from a ship looking out onto a vast horizon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2KKQsIVShw

Note that the stub at the bottom of the display suggests the effect is coming up from under ground.

So what are the lines used for, what is all that effort aimed to produce?

The most likely possibility so far to me is as an enormous transportation system of some really
unusual purpose. Note that there are many UFO reports in which a UFO shoots up into the
air very rapidly and others where UFOs shoot off horizontally in a straight line. That straight line is
available at the top of the wheel high in the sky. In order to keep the travel smooth the straight red walls
must leave the Earth’s surface very smoothly without vegetation or overhangs to disrupt the flow and make
the ride bumpy.

A famous French UFO researcher, Jacques Vallee noted what he called a ‘falling leaf maneuver’
in which UFOs in an area of France would arrive rapidly along a straight line and stop suddenly.
Then the UFO would drop altitude in a move that looked like the side to side motion of a falling leaf.
Shortly it would seem to find what it was trying to locate, the end of another straight line from another
wheel and shoot off straight in a different direction.

Another time I’ll describe the immense torque that you can tell is produced by the Alternating Current of the Red Walls,
torque that goes both down the lines and around the circle. My guess from watching a very real Shaman tap this
spin to produce a rampant whirlwind is that he pulled about 5 to 25 horsepower out of it expressed in an amazing
blast of air.

Tapping these immensely powerful geologically based forces is of course one of the most interesting possibilities of these studies.

If you would like to get your toes wet in this research you might consider going to the U.K. during Crop Circle season and
begin that study in the fields, here is an excellent site to begin study from if you are not already using it. The site tracks the
circles year round and is usually updated daily:

http://www.cropcircleconnector.com/2014/2014.html

If you are on the West Coast of the USA contact me and I can tell you where a couple of hot
spots are located which have popped up crop circles over time. One is at Rockville CA and the
others are near Aloha, Oregon.

For developing instruments which can measure this previously un-described but obviously valuable
energy form my own consideration is that the easiest way to build a receiver is to have a strong
transmitter nearby, even a spark gap if that’s all you can manage in the beginning.

So managing to do your research in the most active of these locations is probably a good way to
start.

I have a full description of an electronically based research instrument written up and will be happy to
send it.

Larry

larrybgrant44@gmail.com

Larry Grant said...

Parts 9-11

Part 9

Here is the largest scale example of the short circuiting effect that I’ve encountered to date:

in Volume 41, p.984 of Electrical Engineering by the American Institute of Electrical Engineers a very difficult problem is described:

"We have a peculiar condition with our 150-kv. Big Creek line. Mysterious flashovers occur that are not associated with any particular kind of weather, any part of the day, nor any part of the night. It appears to be a hopeless task to find a reason for the flashovers and to eliminate them. So the next thing to do is to get rid of the defective section in our most important transmission line, even though we have to go counter to the opinion of the more conservative engineers."

The painful decision to get rid of a defective section was undoubtedly long debated with many meetings, heated discussions and expensive attempts in the field to solve the problem without having to remove the line.

I am familiar with a line crew that sat in their truck watching another power line all night, night after night through several breaker-tripping events and no one saw or heard anything happen at all even though intense short circuiting had to be going on right before their eyes.

The spot they had narrowed the invisible short circuiting down to was next to a field which had several small crop circles turn up in it a few months before the short circuiting problem began.

One way to link dark energy/matter hot spots with crop circles is to compare the damage to electronic gear which can happen in both hot spots and crop circles.

If you go to the URL just below and drop down to item #9 you will find a description of problems with various forms of electronic gear inside crop circles. Note particularly the description of effects on cameras at 500’ altitude above a circle. In #9 the effects are said to be brought about by ‘remnant’ energy from crop circle formation.

Actually it’s not remnant, it’s a live vertical hot spot actively messing up both film and digital cameras at altitude. It demonstrates that the tubed vents can reach high into the sky, 500’ is just the beginning.

My own study of crop circle effects on cameras suggests that it takes quite an intense level of dark world energy to affect either kind of camera.

#9 also has a description of cell phone failures that sound more like radio ‘holes’, radio communications failures rather than dead battery effects.

The crop circle related spinning of compasses mentioned in #9 is a consequence of the alternating current effect of the straight lines and also at wheel hubs where the straight lines are concentrated close together.

Spinning compasses are one of the great mysteries of quite a number of paranormal events generally and are likely always caused by the alternating current nature of the red wall hot spots and wheel hubs.

The buzzing and humming effects described in #9 are also caused by the dark energy AC current.

#10 is a good description of some of the effects that exposure to high levels of dark matter/energy have on people and animals.

There are many other crop circle facts in this list too.

http://www.bltresearch.com/otherfacts.php

A modest amount of scientific research has inadvertently been done about dark world effects on our real world soils, plants and people. That research has been done in crop circles but is applicable to vent hot spot studies.

A dowser friend of mine from the U.K. suggested that crop circles appear at the same places along wheel spokes that I have called shrine locations while discussing straight roads. Those are the most active ‘hot spots’ along each wheel spoke.

There has been some excellent scientific research done on soils at crop circle locations. Changes in soil composition would be an indication of the effects of dark energy/matter on real world soil materials.

Larry Grant said...

Part 10

Soil studies over energy hot spots have the promise of being generalized to the point that we could use them to assay hot spots, to certify their locations and possibly to learn to differentiate them if there are differences in parameters between them.

Soil studies such as clay mineralization and isotope ratios are expensive at present but there is a massive drive on to reduce many parameters discovered by science to tiny silicon or other integrated circuit chips which can inexpensively and almost instantaneously detect and display indications of cancer in blood samples and more, with a much broader array of sensor types presently under study or testing.

This suggests that not far down the road one could carry a small analyzer of the mineral or isotopic parameters we might find associated with hot spots and therefore locate hot spots quite rapidly and accurately.

Here are two studies. The first research is on Clay-Mineral Crystallization. That may not seem very sexy but it has quite interesting possibilities. Note that in this study both microwaves and ‘atmospheric plasma vortex systems’ are pretty much eliminated as possible causes of the clay mineral effects in the discussion section at the bottom of the article and elsewhere within the article.

http://www.bltresearch.com/xrd.php

Another study which reaches deep into the effects of intense levels of dark world energy on real world matter considers the effects found on radioisotopes in the soil inside crop circles.

http://execonn.com/cropcircles/isotopes.html

A second radioisotope study done in 2002 appears to have reached approximately the same conclusions.

While attributed to other forces in the following article the presence of meteoric iron particles in a crop circle could be interpreted to mean that the vertical
tube associated with some dark energy/matter vents reaches very high into the sky and can collect bits of matter from the edge of space and just below.

http://www.bltresearch.com/magnetic.php

Here is a description of the effects of intense dark matter/energy on plants.

The authors of the article point out that their complete findings are quite complex. One could suspect that part of the complexity found while measuring effects along diameters is caused by the red line-wheel spokes being most effective directly on the line and less effective between lines.

http://www.bltresearch.com/plantab.php

The BLT site has an excellent description of the paranormal activity and unusual photographs taken in Col de Vence, France, not far from Nice.

http://www.bltresearch.com/eyewitness/eyewitness6.php

And as seen here:

http://www.coldevence.com/fr-fr/photos/plusdephotos.aspx

There are many other excellent articles on the BLT site and interesting descriptions of the particularly close relationship between a gentleman in Holland and the crop circle effects. As a source of paranormal activity Robbert Van den Broeke is pretty unusual.

http://www.bltresearch.com/robbert.php

A much more extensive set of human-effects examples can be found on a site created by Lucy Pringle. She presents a large number of descriptions of what happens to people exposed to high levels of dark world energy in crop circles.

Lucy has one of the largest collections of descriptions of medical and other effects related to working in crop circles available which suggests that if you are trying to create whole new forms of medicine (and these days who isn’t?) the raw data on the site and in her other collections could be very useful.

A good sample is this page:

http://www.lucypringle.co.uk/articles/dreams/

Larry Grant said...

Part 11

I witnessed two very short term medical effects while in my first crop circle.

During that afternoon two men showed up with their wives. Each man had continuing serious long term pain from previous auto accidents. One had a metal plate in his back to help repair his injury.

What I noticed about them was that as they walked across the field outside of the circle they had a distinct slow, painful gait which instantly disappeared when they crossed into the crop circle. With amazing sudden smiles they acted like prisoners suddenly released from their chains. Both were quick to come over and tell me that they were experiencing complete freedom from pain for the first time since their long-ago accidents.

The one with a metal plate in his back said that he could feel something ‘tugging’ quite distinctly on that plate. After a bit this became a worry because it was quite persistent. He decided that it might not be good to have this tugging continue and soon left the circle.

The moment that he stepped outside of the circle it was quite visible that his entire pain problem was loaded back on. He stooped a bit, slowed dramatically and completely lost the spring in his step that had been so clear when inside the circle.

After awhile the other man left the circle with the same crushing effect. Crossing the edge of the circle he reacted almost as though hit in the stomach, his pain returned with a real crash. He walked slowly from the field, looking back at the circle now and again.

Lucy has published one of the only copies I’ve seen of a graph of the short-circuiting effect in action just below ‘Were we bewitched’ down the page here:

http://www.lucypringle.co.uk/articles/thiswas/

Over the years Lucy has done a lot of testing of what happens to water exposed to dark world energy in crop circles and other experiments with human subjects.

Lucy’s site also contains a resource for studying a large number of the crop circles in pictures over the years:

http://www.lucypringle.co.uk/photos/

Here is an interesting history of early crop circles as found using Google Earth History Overlays.

http://cropcircleresearch.homestead.com/1945-crop-circles.html

There are also many other sites accessible through the links on all of the above sites. Further information, particularly about crop circle formations outside of the U.K. can be reached through those links.

Just below is another interesting recent study of flattened crop:

http://www.cropcircleconnector.com/anasazi/fringe2014g.html

Larry

larrybgrant44@gmail.com

Enfant Terrible said...

This is a failure to replicate retrocausal recall:
.
http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=2014-09290-005

Enfant Terrible said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dean Radin said...

I removed the last comment because the pdf that it linked to was not supposed to be publicly available yet. It is intended to be a chapter in a book.

Kyrani99 said...

Hi Dr. Radin,
I was watching a TV program in which you talked about presentiment and you said that you observed an action potential of 5 seconds before the subject saw the picture on the computer monitor. I have been also looking at experiments on free will, which also show a 5 or 6 second action potential prior to a person taking some action e.g., pressing a button having made a decision. Researchers claim that these can be used to determine what button pressed/ hand used etc., the subject will use before they have made a decision. I was wondering could this have something to do with consciousness? What is your opinion about this phenomenon and it seeming relationship with your work?

Dean Radin said...

Studies showing readiness potentials prior to taking an action are very different than what we see in presentiment studies. While the physiological reactions can appear to be similar, the underlying causes are very different.

Prior to making an action, a person is engaged in a decision. I.e., the action that ultimately occurs is not random. So it makes sense that the brain is gearing up to do something, even if the person is not yet fully conscious of what that something is. This sort of thing is happening all the time. E.g., when you decide to get out of bed in the morning if you (or your body) didn't adjust your blood pressure in anticipation of standing up, then when you got out of bed up you'd regularly pass out.

By contrast, a presentiment experiment is all about our response to randomly selected, *unpredictable* future events. It is not about making decisions. So if readiness waves are different prior to different kinds of future stimuli, that can't be attributable to getting ready to do an action or make a decision. It must instead be due to an unconscious perception of some future possibility (or to a present-time potentiality).

Enfant Terrible said...

Hi, Dean
this is a skeptical review of the meta-analysis:
.
http://osc.centerforopenscience.org/2014/06/25/a-skeptics-review/#disqus_thread

Dean Radin said...

Wagenmakers is following an old skeptical tactic -- if the data are overwhelmingly strong in favor of psi, then just declare the methods used to show that result invalid and create a new goalpost. In doing this, *all* work in the same discipline also becomes invalid. This is exactly what happened with Rhine's ESP card results, until the President of the American Statistical Association declared that the methods were, in fact, correct.

What the skeptic does not acknowledge is that if it is indeed the case that standard methods are invalid, then we should have no confidence in anything that standard disciplines are telling us.

And yet skeptics do maintain strong confidence in their convictions. This doesn't make sense if one's convictions are based on a rational assessment of the evidence. But it does make sense if the convictions are really based on emotional reactions. That's fine, but it's no longer science.

Simon Fraser said...

Hello, Dean. I found this article in a BBC science mag that I wonder might have been an unintended replication of presentiment, in an experiment designed to test for free will:

"...Our ability to make choices, may, it seems, be influenced by random electrical fluctuations in the brain. In a study carried out at UC Davis, volunteers where asked to focus on the centre of a screen and to look left or right when a cue symbol flashed up. The researchers found that by monitoring electrical signals in the brain shortly before the cue appeared, and therefore before the volunteers knew they were going to make a choice, they could predict the likely outcome of that choice. "The state of the brain before the presentation of the cue determines whether you will attend to the left or to the right" said researcher Jesse Bengson"

Simon Fraser said...

I forgot to add in relation to that article, that if brain signals indicate something before the cue was shown, then isn't it similar to the way skin conductance changes during a presentiment test?

D Samuel Schwarzkopf said...

I should know better than to comment but I think you are misrepresenting Wagenmakers' argument quite fundamentally:

Update August 14, 2014. And now some critics are claiming that the most sophisticated usage of meta-analysis itself is flawed, throwing into doubt everything published in psychology, biology, medicine, ecology, and all other disciplines that rely on meta-analysis for assessing replication of small effects.

I think this is overstating massively the importance of meta-analysis. I can't think of any examples (outside of a whole series of 'psi' research, that is) where scientific discoveries hinged on meta-analysis. While this is useful for summarising replication attempts of weak effects, it isn't fundamental proof. As EJW says, compelling evidence would be results of one clear experiment (with adequate controls), not a large set of lacklustre findings.

This is a "move the goal-post" strategy: When evidence is not to your liking, change the rules so it's no longer offensive.

This is not true. Wagenmakers has been a strong proponent of Bayesian inference and preregistration of protocols for years. In the context of psi research he has also already advocated the use of adversarial collaborations in his first response to Bem's study. He is just being consistent with his previous statements.

Now the only acceptable evidence is based on experimental designs that are publicly preregistered. Why any critic thinks that will solve the problem is beyond me.

I don't think this will "solve the problem" and I disagree with some arguments made for preregistration. However, in the context of replication attempts it seems to me the correct approach to take. It can help minimise questionable resource practices, even if it does not eliminate them. Personally however I think the adversarial collaboration EJW proposes is more crucial and the outcome would be more interesting.

Finally, @Simon Fraser:
"The researchers found that by monitoring electrical signals in the brain shortly before the cue appeared, and therefore before the volunteers knew they were going to make a choice, they could predict the likely outcome of that choice."

This has nothing to do with presentiment. It is about the participant's choice rather than about some passive emotional response. This is similar to the Bereitschaftspotenzial work that I see has been already discussed on this page. It is presumably also related to work on spontaneous fluctuations in the neural signals which have been suggested to influence perceptual detection abilities: if think of the signal as a continuous slow wave, when the signal is at a peak your ability may be better than when it is at a trough. I'm not a telepath so I can't speak for Dean, but based on what he said before I think he'd agree with me that these are different things from presentiment.

Dean Radin said...

> I think this is overstating massively the importance of meta-analysis. I can't think of any examples (outside of a whole series of 'psi' research, that is) where scientific discoveries hinged on meta-analysis. While this is useful for summarising replication attempts of weak effects, it isn't fundamental proof. As EJW says, compelling evidence would be results of one clear experiment (with adequate controls), not a large set of lacklustre findings.

Sorry, this is a common criticism but it is both naive and historically wrong. It is naive because it assumes that people evaluate data rationally, and it is historically wrong because there are already many individual studies published that satisfy strong statistical results with ample controls.

Take Daryl Bem's studies of implicit precognition published in JPSP as just one recent example. The immediate reaction of practically every critic was "is this replicable?" They didn't complain that "this wasn't a strong enough result," or that it wasn't "clear" enough, or didn't have sufficient controls.

So how do we establish if replication occurred? Through meta-analysis. If the MA indicates that an effect was indeed repeatable, regardless of its magnitude, and the controls were deemed adequate, then this in fact does establish that there's a there there.

> I can't think of any examples (outside of a whole series of 'psi' research, that is) where scientific discoveries hinged on meta-analysis.

Then I respectfully suggest that you look into this in more detail.


D Samuel Schwarzkopf said...

Take Daryl Bem's studies of implicit precognition published in JPSP as just one recent example. The immediate reaction of practically every critic was "is this replicable?" They didn't complain that "this wasn't a strong enough result," or that it wasn't "clear" enough, or didn't have sufficient controls.

Actually my criticism of that study is certainly more whether it is strong enough. While it is true that even a weak precognition effect would be important, the weaker the effect the more cautious you have to be to control that it can't have arisen through artifacts or noise. I don't think this condition has been satisfied with Bem's results. The fact that their paper itself reports that the effect is strengthened by using his software makes it suspect. Yes, it could be that he "just knew" how to do the experiment just right, but it is equally (or more?) likely that there is something about his software that produces the effect.

I don't disagree that meta-analysis is a good way to assess a replicability. But to do so you need to apply strict standards because this is confirmatory research in the strictest sense. You can't just lump together a large number of experiments vaguely related to the original finding as they did in that meta-analysis (on that note, they also don't report whether it is only the same conditions for which they had a prior expectation of precognition - in Bem's original paper this seemed rather loose so this would be important to know here). This is what EJW is talking about when he proposes preregistration to control for questionable research practices.

Then I respectfully suggest that you look into this in more detail.

I have done but I'm very happy to do so more - but you don't care to provide even a single example? Just one non-psi discovery whose acceptance depended on successful meta-analysis?

IreneSoldatos said...

> I can't think of any examples (outside of a whole series of 'psi' research, that is) where scientific discoveries hinged on meta-analysis.

Just two random articles, as an example, from the plethora available in the biological sciences.

Discovery and Fine Mapping of Serum Protein Loci through Transethnic Meta-analysis

Novel Loci for Adiponectin Levels and Their Influence on Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Traits: A Multi-Ethnic Meta-Analysis of 45,891 Individuals

Dean Radin said...

> but it is equally (or more?) likely that there is something about his software that produces the effect

Which is precisely why he provided the source code. No one has identified any problem with the programs, thus your discomfort may be real, but it is not supported by evidence.

> I don't disagree that meta-analysis is a good way to assess a replicability. But to do so you need to apply strict standards because this is confirmatory research in the strictest sense.

The implication is that MA for psi studies are less rigorously conducted than how MA's are performed for more conventional topics. Not true. The same methods are used.

Irene provides two examples of MAs used to establish effects in conventional areas. There are many more.

D Samuel Schwarzkopf said...

Irene provides two examples of MAs used to establish effects in conventional areas. There are many more.

Obviously there are numerous meta-analyses out there. This isn't the same as a scientific discovery that hinges on meta-analysis results. And of course the same problem that plague the Bem and other meta-analysis applies as much to these studies. For a finding as bold as precognition this isn't sufficient evidence from where I am standing. Of course, it isn't for any other meta-analysis either until someone comes up with a practical confirmation that the effects are indeed scientifically meaningful.

Which is precisely why he provided the source code. No one has identified any problem with the programs, thus your discomfort may be real, but it is not supported by evidence.

I had heard about that but the site where that source code was posted has vanished in the ether. He also didn't respond to my requests to share the data which may just be because I was much later than anybody else. Others who actually did receive his software for their own replication attempts did not share it with me because they didn't have permission from him. I can respect that decision.

I certainly would be very interested in both the software as well as in analysing the raw data.

The implication is that MA for psi studies are less rigorously conducted than how MA's are performed for more conventional topics. Not true. The same methods are used.

I think you are reading something into this that isn't there. This is certainly not the implication I am making (as I also tried to make clear in my Frontiers commentary). Quite clearly this is also not the message Wagenmakers is trying to convey as he has for years argued that statistical standards in psychology research are too lax. Certainly the same arguments have been made about the so-called "replication crisis" of social priming effects and the like. It is a criticism that applies to all scientific questions regardless of how conventional they are.

The way I see it meta-analysis as it is being used now is rife for abuse. We need to be a lot stricter in accepting. For example only if it follows controlled protocols, direct independent replication efforts, etc. This doesn't rule out exploratory or more flexible research, which are certainly fundamental for science to progress. But the situation right now muddles the two far too much from where I am standing.

Gianfranco Bussalai said...

Finally, @Simon Fraser:
"The researchers found that by monitoring electrical signals in the brain shortly before the cue appeared, and therefore before the volunteers knew they were going to make a choice, they could predict the likely outcome of that choice."

This has nothing to do with presentiment.




It would be interesting to know whether there is correlation between brain signals (preceding the cues) and the cues themselves. Someone knows where to found the complete article?

Simon Fraser said...

@ Dr. Schwartzkopf. Thank-you very much for clearing that matter up! Much appreciated.

@ Dr. Radin.

On the topic of psi in general. I have come across the argument that the fact that psi is quite subtle is knock against it. Evolution takes advantage of certain abilities and amplifies them. If there were psi, they would be much less subtle.

However, I'm fairly sure that there are subtle abilities within human beings and other living creatures that are not psi. Moreover, as most psi is unconscious as I understand, the above argument seems rather weak. But again, I may well be completely wrong.

Dean Radin said...

Psi abilities may seem to provide an advantage, but a case can be made that the cost of that advantage actually reduces its evolutionary value to the individual. I.e., the human organism has survived because we pay very close attention to the here and now. Psi seems to provide additional information about the there and then. If you cannot easily and accurately distinguish between here and now and there and then, you are likely to be eaten by the tiger in front of you rather than the one a thousand miles away or 4 months in the future. This does not look good from an evolutionary perspective.

However, the value of a psi-talented person to a *tribe* is clearer. The tribe can survive better with at least one person who is psi talented, like a shaman. But that person on his or her own is likely to not be capable of taking care of themselves very well.

I suspect that something like this is why psi-talented people can be found in every culture throughout history, and still today -- because of the survival value to the collective, and not necessarily to the individual.

Dean Radin said...

> We need to be a lot stricter in accepting. For example only if it follows controlled protocols, direct independent replication efforts, etc.

Again, this is precisely what Bem's protocol is all about. He presented interesting results along with a standardized, well-controlled protocol, and then asked for lots of direct independent replications.

There are many copies of Bem's software out there. No one has identified any problem with it. Ask him again for another copy.

Can procedures in psychology and related fields be tightened up? Of course. Methodological evolution is always happening in every field, as it should.

Advancements in psi studies have always tracked new standards and methodologies, the phenomena are still observed, and yet critics are never convinced. Why?

One reason is a Catch 22: As long as methodologies are not perfect, then it is not possible to produce persuasive evidence for psi. But running the perfect experiment is impossible given that advancements are always on the horizon. Thus obtaining the required evidence is impossible. Thus the argument continues.

D Samuel Schwarzkopf said...

@Simon Fraser:
On the topic of psi in general. I have come across the argument that the fact that psi is quite subtle is knock against it. Evolution takes advantage of certain abilities and amplifies them. If there were psi, they would be much less subtle.

You hear that sometimes also in other discussions but in my mind this arises from a misunderstanding of the enormous time scales over which evolution occurs. We could still be in the phase in which this particular trait emerged and that phase could also be very long, substantially longer than the comparably brief period since recorded history began.

Another issue with the evolutionary argument is that it assumes that the trait is heritable and that it confers an advantage on natural selection. In so far as there have been any mechanistic hypotheses for how psi effects are mediated I don't think that these properties necessarily apply.

Of course, this is all highly speculative but I simply mean to say I'm always wary of arguments "If X exists, evolution should have amplified it." It doesn't logically follow.

D Samuel Schwarzkopf said...

Again, this is precisely what Bem's protocol is all about. He presented interesting results along with a standardized, well-controlled protocol, and then asked for lots of direct independent replications.

That's not the same thing. There are still criticisms you can make about Bem's experimental protocols but you can make criticisms of any experimental protocol. But I entirely agree that you cannot accuse him of having not publishing it or that he was discouraging replication. That was a major point he made in his original study.

What I'm talking about is the standards for meta-analysis and replication efforts. In that respect I believe we must be a lot stricter because it is frankly too easy to accumulate effect sizes of sometimes vaguely related experiments and produce a highly significant meta-effect. That's where I think EJW's point is clear that replication studies ought to employ preregistered protocols and, for more controversial topics (which goes well beyond psi research), adversarial collaborations.

There are many copies of Bem's software out there. No one has identified any problem with it. Ask him again for another copy.

As I said, I asked someone who didn't want to share their copy and the reasons for that were compelling. If someone gave me something to be used by me, I wouldn't pass it on without permission either. But you are right, I should try contacting him again.

Advancements in psi studies have always tracked new standards and methodologies, the phenomena are still observed, and yet critics are never convinced. Why?

I will acknowledge that psi researcher has been keeping track of new standards. Psychology in general gets a bad rap, if you ask me, as in my experience psychologists are typically more statistically savvy than some other fields in neuroscience. Bem has employed Bayesian hypothesis testing which is laudable. Many Bayesians no doubt disagree with how it was applied (the Wagenmakers review above discusses that) but that's another issue.

So why are critics not convinced? I can't speak for others but at least for me the problem is that it is not about whether "phenomena are still observed". We can argue about the appropriate methodology (including the statistical inference) ad infinitum but this is never going to give you a definite answer. It never can because it's science, not math.

The main problem I have with psi research is that its final conclusion is always that there remains something "unexplained." But this is inherent to all science but especially to biology and psychology. All models leave unexplained variance - if they don't you're doing something trivially wrong (like correlating the same measure in meters and centimeters).

As such the psi conclusions are completely unsatisfying. In order to convince me at least the research would have to present far more evidence trying to explain the unexplained phenomenon, starting with the simplest possible model and slowly moving up. The simplest model is the null hypothesis that the unexplained variance is merely noise. This is clearly the assumption under which many skeptics operate and it is probably true in many situations but I'm sure there are other interesting effects. I think you are shutting yourself off from actually discovering what is going on by concluding "it must be psi."

I am actually working on an essay about what level of evidence I would expect from psi claims. The draft is finished but it isn't published yet and I don't know yet whether it is more appropriate for a blog post or published in a journal. But it will come out eventually and I hope that will answer your question...

Simon Fraser said...

"Psi abilities may seem to provide an advantage, but a case can be made that the cost of that advantage actually reduces its evolutionary value to the individual. I.e., the human organism has survived because we pay very close attention to the here and now. Psi seems to provide additional information about the there and then. If you cannot easily and accurately distinguish between here and now and there and then, you are likely to be eaten by the tiger in front of you rather than the one a thousand miles away or 4 months in the future. This does not look good from an evolutionary perspective."

This to me seems similar to what Huxley proposed in his 'Doors of Perception'. That evolution has for the most part, kept our minds on the here and now.

"However, the value of a psi-talented person to a *tribe* is clearer. The tribe can survive better with at least one person who is psi talented, like a shaman. But that person on his or her own is likely to not be capable of taking care of themselves very well."

I suppose one could argue that other similar examples exist in nature. A pack of wolves need to work together to hunt prey. So the same with a Shaman. He offers prescient advice, but cannot fight rival tribes, so other members protect him.

Dean Radin said...

> In order to convince me at least the research would have to present far more evidence trying to explain the unexplained phenomenon, starting with ... the null hypothesis that the unexplained variance is merely noise. ... I think you are shutting yourself off from actually discovering what is going on by concluding "it must be psi."

This is a common misunderstanding of the purpose of a psi experiment. It assumes that these experiments are designed to look for psi without considering a very wide range of alternative explanations. This of course is not the case.


All psi experiments begin with reports of anomalous human experiences. If someone describes hearing the phone ring and without looking somehow "knowing" who is on the line, we call such experiences telepathy. To test whether such episodes are coincidences or one of a dozen other ordinary alternatives, we design an experiment that excludes all of the known explanations. If the results of that experiment shows a significant effect, the result is an anomaly that fits the telepathy hypothesis.

If someone comes up with a new alternative hypothesis, then that loophole is closed. Etc. Over decades several psi experiments have evolved that even the most severe skeptics (e.g. Wiseman, Hyman) agree that there are no known plausible alternatives to the psi hypothesis.

This doesn't mean that we know precisely what "psi" is, but it does mean that when people report these strange experiences that sometimes they are genuinely anomalous.

Major discoveries in science often begin with anomalies. This is why I am personally interested in studying these phenomena. Others may have their own reasons. Understanding what psi *is* will, like everything else we "know," rest upon development of adequate theories. I suspect that such theories will ultimately arise through new developments in physics.

D Samuel Schwarzkopf said...

To test whether such episodes are coincidences or one of a dozen other ordinary alternatives, we design an experiment that excludes all of the known explanations.

That's where we disagree. I quite happily welcome the study of unexpected, unexplained phenomena. I'm quite intrigued by such experiences myself. But I think it is hubris to assume that every experiment has excluded all known explanations. No experiment, not even the most well designed ones, can perfectly exclude the enormous multivariate parameter space of even all known factors. And while skeptics of ones own work (not just talking about psi here) will no doubt work actively to research possible alternative explanations, in my mind the onus should be on researchers themselves to generate further alternatives with the aim to falsify their main hypothesis. And yes, this applies to all science, not only psi research.

If the results of that experiment shows a significant effect, the result is an anomaly that fits the telepathy hypothesis.

Rather, it does not fit the null hypothesis, or - if you are a Bayesian - it fits the alternative hypothesis better than the null. This says nothing about telepathy. At best statistical tests can tell you that telepathy is one possible explanation. Only more direct experiments can get closer to this.

This doesn't mean that we know precisely what "psi" is, but it does mean that when people report these strange experiences that sometimes they are genuinely anomalous.

And my approach to that such experiences are interesting but I will assume that there is a simple explanation (i.e. "anomalous") and I want to leave no stone unturned until I have figured out what it is. If I haven't managed to do so by the time I lay down to eternal slumber (or however you wish to put it), then I might consider that it is a puzzle I won't be able to solve. But to be honest the history of science suggests to me that just because I can't find a simple explanation within a lifetime of research doesn't mean that one of my successors won't do it within a day.

Over decades several psi experiments have evolved that even the most severe skeptics (e.g. Wiseman, Hyman) agree that there are no known plausible alternatives to the psi hypothesis.

I'm unsure they would necessarily agree with this statement but that's for them to discuss. Anyway, I said what I came here to say, which is that Wagenmaker's argument goes well beyond skepticism about psi. I think he's very consistent in his message about psychology in general. So I'll leave you in peace again ;)

IreneSoldatos said...

>Obviously there are numerous meta-analyses out there. This isn't the same as a scientific discovery that hinges on meta-analysis results.

Forgive me, but the papers I linked to publish scientific discoveries (new gene complex-trait loci) that absolutely hinge on meta-analysis results.

You might want confirmation of the results by different methods, and of course in the biological sciences there are various methods that can be employed for this (none of them, I might stress, liable to give perfect 100% certain results), but the discovery was made through meta-analysis.

This is the last sentence from the abstract of the first paper (italics my own):

"Our results highlight the advantages of transethnic meta-analysis for the discovery and fine mapping of complex trait loci and have provided initial insights into the underlying genetic architecture of serum protein concentrations and their association with human disease."

https://www.bioshare.eu/content/discovery-and-fine-mapping-serum-protein-loci-through-transethnic-meta-analysis

>For a finding as bold as precognition this isn't sufficient evidence from where I am standing. Of course, it isn't for any other meta-analysis either until someone comes up with a practical confirmation that the effects are indeed scientifically meaningful.

That is very different from saying: "I can't think of any examples (outside of a whole series of 'psi' research, that is) where scientific discoveries hinged on meta-analysis." -- which was the initial statement I took issue with.

Though I think the scientists who published the aforementioned papers would also be surprised to find that their meta-analysis results are not "scientifically meaningful".

Dean Radin said...

This being my blog, I get the last word.

> No experiment, not even the most well designed ones, can perfectly exclude the enormous multivariate parameter space of even all known factors.

Exactly. And this is how critics can, and regularly do, reject the results of any experiment whose outcome is not to their liking. The only way to assess whether a controversial idea is "real" is through independent replication, and that immediately requires meta-analysis. There's no getting around it. Registering studies in advance is a good step forward, but that does not wipe out the previous century of experimental data.

> And while skeptics of ones own work (not just talking about psi here) will no doubt work actively to research possible alternative explanations, in my mind the onus should be on researchers themselves to generate further alternatives with the aim to falsify their main hypothesis.

Of course, but your implication is that psi researchers don't do this. In fact, the relevant literature is saturated with arguments and debates about alternative explanations.

> At best statistical tests can tell you that telepathy is one possible explanation. Only more direct experiments can get closer to this.

What, pray tell, is a "more direct experiment" on telepathy than the ganzfeld experiment, or EEG correlation experiments, or "telephone telepathy" experiments, or DMILS experiments, or ...?

>> Over decades several psi experiments have evolved that even the most severe skeptics (e.g. Wiseman, Hyman) agree that there are no known plausible alternatives to the psi hypothesis. > I'm unsure they would necessarily agree with this statement

"No plausible alternative" is Hyman's own words. Wiseman is even more positive. Of course, neither of them is ready to admit that they "believe" in psi, but that's only because they've built a career on denying it, or they invoke the perfect Catch 22 that you need to know what it is in order to know if you've found it.

What your comments tell me is that you have developed strong opinions about psi without actually reading and contemplating the literature. This is understandable because it takes years of concentrated study to become an expert in any given field, and no working scientist is going to bother to become an expert in a field that they have a priori rejected. However, having worked in this field for 30+ years, I believe I can justifiably say that my opinion is informed, whereas yours is not.

So, from a purely rational perspective, who should a third party believe when reading such an exchange? The guy who denies climate change but knows nothing about it, or the guy who has spent a career studying it? Substitute your favorite controversial topic for climate change, and you'll see what I mean.

I'm sorry if I sound a bit harsh about this, but I've gone through this sort of discussion so many times that my patience grows thin.

D Samuel Schwarzkopf said...

Just answering two questions. It is your blog and you may have all the last words you wish (just don't ask me any direct questions please? :P):

@Irene: Though I think the scientists who published the aforementioned papers would also be surprised to find that their meta-analysis results are not "scientifically meaningful".

I'm sorry that was badly phrased. Essentially what I meant to say is that a statistically significant result should be the starting point, not the end point. It doesn't prove the existence of an effect but should generate new specific hypotheses that, if confirmed, can be interpreted as confirmations (not as proof).

What, pray tell, is a "more direct experiment" on telepathy than the ganzfeld experiment, or EEG correlation experiments, or "telephone telepathy" experiments, or DMILS experiments, or ...?

First, let me clarify that I never criticised research on telepathy. Not that I believe it exists but I would regard this as more a plausible hypothesis than precognition/presentiment, assuming it works at subliminal speeds. (I'd however still want to see more experiments on alternatives of course)

Anyway, the answer to your question is I don't know, but it's also not my job to know. It's the job of the researcher investigating this phenomenon to come up with ever more possible confounds and alternative hypotheses and then continue to test them. In general terms, any experiment that directly manipulates the effect or one of the potential confounds fits the bill. I mentioned a list of a few possibilities in my Frontiers commentary and it's what I could think of in terms of presentiment after thinking about it for a very short time and very limited knowledge of the literature. This is the point Irene took issue with, but it's precisely the point. As someone with far more knowledge of these phenomena and 30 years experience of studying them you should be able to think of far more alternative explanations than any outsider. If there is this large literature on these points then I don't know where it is and, more critically, I don't understand why this wasn't discussed in the "critical review" about the topic.

What your comments tell me is that you have developed strong opinions about psi without actually reading and contemplating the literature.

That's not true. I do have strong opinions about science, however. I have read a fair bit of this particular literature by this point (and had before I wrote that commentary). I obviously don't have decades worth of experience with it but I have read and contemplated my share of it. Maybe there is this enormous body of literature that answers all my questions that I have somehow missed completely.

It's ironic you bring up climate change deniers. Yes, they are the skeptics in that context but they are also the small group going against the overwhelming consensus in the scientific community. The perpetuation of the idea that there is an inherent bias in the scientific community to ignore or suppress evidence of psi to me is very reminiscent of the foible for conspiracy theories in the climate change discussion (trust me, I know far too many people who believe that sort of stuff and those people also embraced the view that 9/11 was staged as was that recent plane disaster in Ukraine etc - it's a discussion too exhausting for me to engage in as it's really like talking to a wall). I'm not saying that is what you guys are doing but I can't help but see some clear parallels.

Anyway, as I said I am writing on an article that explains what I mean and I will probably publish this in some form, presumably after reading your response to my commentary. Now, please have your last words and I promise I won't reply.

Kind regards and best wishes,
Sam

Dean Radin said...

Dean: What, pray tell, is a "more direct experiment" on telepathy ...

Sam: the answer to your question is I don't know

Dean: Exactly. You don't know.

Sam: ... it's what I could think of in terms of presentiment after thinking about it for a very short time and very limited knowledge of the literature.... ... I have read a fair bit of this particular literature by this point ...

Dean: Hmm.

Sam: It's ironic you bring up climate change deniers. Yes, they are the skeptics in that context but they are also the small group going against the overwhelming consensus in the scientific community.

Dean: The point is that climate change deniers don't know, or don't want to know, the relevant empirical evidence. A "scientific consensus" is supposed to be based on careful assessment of what is known. But in the case of psi research we are faced with the peculiar situation of a mainstream consensus based on not knowing!

Sam: Now, please have your last words and I promise I won't reply.

Dean: I encourage discussion and debate. In some cases opinion may be too divergent to reach agreement, but that's okay. Also, this is my blog, so I will always get the last word. :-)

Ben Steigmann said...

Or you get a consensus based on people who omit or distort sources and commit academic malpractice, but because they have the power to do so, get away with it, where they would certainly discredit their field were they in the minority camp.

Radin has actually written about this, see: http://www.survivalafterdeath.info/articles/other/skepticism.htm

Alfred Russel Wallace wrote about the omissions and distortions of critics of his day - see

Wallace (1877). Carpenter's "Mesmerism, Spiritualism, &c., Historically and Scientifically Considered": http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S270.htm

Wallace (1898). The Opposition to Hypnotism and Psychical Research: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S726CH17.htm


As did William Crookes: http://www.esalen.org/ctr-archive/crookes-researches.html#co

Crookes was posthumously attacked, leading to a controversy with Trevor Hall and Eric Dingwall on one side and Medhurst & Goldney on the other that had some resolution in the work of GAM Zorab, though this has been ignored outside parapsychology, see the book "In Honour of GAM Zorab".

Dingwall, in spite of that attitude, wrote a positive review of a book that countered negative allegations against Crookes' subject DD Home: https://ia601200.us.archive.org/13/items/NotesonSpiritualismandPsychicalResearch/JenkinsElizabeth.TheShadowAndTheLightReviewedByE.j.DingwallJsprVolume52_pg143to147.pdf

See also: http://www.thefreelibrary.com/The+Sorcerer+of+Kings%3A+The+Case+of+Daniel+Dunglas+Home+and+William...-a016937197

Ishida (2012). A Review of Sir William Crookes' Papers on Psychic Force with some Additional Remarks on Psychic Phenomena., defends the Crookes spring-balance experiments with Daniel Dunglas Home. This paper reviews Crookes' spring-balance experiments with the medium D.D. Home by theoretically simulating the experiments based on Newtonian mechanics. It shows in the simulation that even if a competent magician is permitted to use a trick to realize similar variations in spring force to the one recorded in Crookes' second experiment, the magician could not realize it because the experimental results (time-dependent variations in spring force) showed features which could not be explained on the basis of Newtonian mechanics).: https://ia601200.us.archive.org/13/items/NotesonSpiritualismandPsychicalResearch/ReviewOfWilliamCrookes.pdf

Frank Podmore wrote about the omissions and distortions people used when attacking the evidence for telepathy:
Podmore (1894). What Psychical Research Has Accomplished.: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25103491

Others have written on the omissions and distortions of Podmore when addressing subjects going beyond his ideological comfort zone of telepathy - see Wallace (1897). Extract from Js-E de Mirville's "Des Esprits et de
Leurs Manifestations Fluidiques."
Introductory Note by Alfred R. Wallace.: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S568.htm

Thurston (1933). The Accordion Playing of D. D. Home (this comes from Thurston's book "Church and Spiritualism", published in 1933, and is here reprinted in the PsyPioneer Journal, a publication dedicated to the serious discussion of Spiritualism and Psychical Research, in Vol. 10 No. 5 - May 2014, on pp. 142-155. It counters the claim that in his accordion performances Home played only a couple of tunes, and it counters both Frank Podmore's claim that the accordion feat was a concealed music-box, and Carlos María de Heredia's claim that a secret accomplice was playing another accordion.): http://www.woodlandway.org/PDF/PP10.5May2014.pdf

See Bostazzi (1905). In Defense of the Memory of William Stainton Moses: http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2936413;view=1up;seq=89

See Hyslop (1903). Reply to Mr. Podmore's Criticism: http://books.google.com/books?id=1krOAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA78&dq=editions:LCCN09022954&lr=&output=html

Ben Steigmann said...

Hyslop also wrote about the omissions and distortions of others - see
Hyslop (1910). President G. Stanley Hall's and Dr. Amy E. Tanner's Studies in Spiritism.: http://books.google.com/books?id=RHgXAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA1&lr=&output=html

Hyslop (1912). Review of "Evidence for the Supernatural" by Ivor Lloyd Tuckett.: http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=njp.32101063849143;view=1up;seq=581

Hyslop (1919). Review of "Spiritualism and Sir Oliver Lodge" by Charles Mercier, "Reflections on "Raymond"" by Walter Cook, and "The Question: "If a Man Die, Shall he Live Again?"" by Edward Clodd: http://books.google.com/books?lr=&output=html&id=knkYAQAAIAAJ&jtp=318

Walter Franklin Prince has written on this subject - in The Enchanted Boundary: Being a Survey of Negative Reactions to Claims of Psychic Phenomena, 1820-1930.: http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015073174594;view=1up;seq=9

Alan Gauld has written on this in "The Founders of Psychical Research" (see in particular this: https://ia601200.us.archive.org/13/items/NotesonSpiritualismandPsychicalResearch/CriticsOfMrs.Piper.pdf), and briefly commented on the tendentious attitude of critics in "Mediumship and Survival": http://www.esalen.org/ctr-archive/mediumship.html

Andreas Sommer has written about the distortions surrounding the early period:
Sommer (2011). Professional Heresy: Edmund Gurney (1847–88) and the Study of Hallucinations and Hypnotism.: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3143882/

Sommer (2012). Psychical research and the origins of American psychology: Hugo Münsterberg, William James and Eusapia Palladino: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3552602/

Sommer (2011). Review of "Immortal Longings: F.W.H. Myers and the Victorian Search for Life after Death" by Trevor Hamilton: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3143887/

Ben Steigmann said...

Then, for criticisms after the era of psychical research, and in the era of parapsychology, we have tendentious and fraudulent criticisms.

See K.R. Rao's comments, to realize that Hansel's work on the Pearce-Pratt issue is fraudulent - as follows, from Rao 1981, pp. 191-194: https://ia902504.us.archive.org/27/items/moreitems/WestVsRaoOnHansel.pdf

"Madam, Dr. D. J. West in his fine review of C. E. M. Hansel's ESP and Parapsychology: A Critical Re-Evaluation (1980) (Journal No. 787) seems to accept too readily the implications of Professor Hansel's alleged discovery of discrepancies in the reporting of the Pearce—Pratt experiment in various places. Since the Pearce-Pratt experiment is one of the highly evidential studies we have in parapsychology and since Hansel is apparently successful in creating the impression—even among such unbiased scientists as Dr. West—that there was something seriously wrong with it, I wish briefly to examine Hansel's arguments and his credibility as a responsible critic. The points made against the Pearce—Pratt experiment are: ( 1 ) that it was not reported in adequate detail at the time it was carried out; (2) that there were discrepancies in its different published versions; and (3) that the experimental conditions were such that the subject, Pearce, could have cheated in a number of possible ways.

Let us consider the fraud issue first. Neither Hansel, or anyone else for that matter, presented any evidence or circumstances that suggest even remotely that Pearce did cheat. The best Hansel (1980) was able to produce was his concluding statement in the book, Ά further unsatisfactory feature lies in the fact that a statement has not been made by the central figure, Hubert Pearce. The experimenters state that trickery was impossible, but what would Pearce have said? Perhaps one day he will give us his own account of the experiment' (p. 123). This statement does not tally with the facts. Contrary to Hansel's remarks, Pearce did make a statement in which he unequivocally asserted that he did not cheat (Stevenson, 1967). Pearce is now dead, and therefore will not be able to make another statement more to the liking of Hansel, unless Hansel believes in the ability of the deceased to make statements!

The hypothesis of fraud to explain away the results of such experiments as the Pearce-Pratt series is essentially sterile and non-falsifiable. As I pointed out elsewhere (Rao, 1981), the argument that it is more parsimonious to assume fraud rather than the existence of 'impossible' phenomena such as ESP is as logically false as it is historically untrue.

[...]

Ben Steigmann said...

Much was made of the fact that the original report of the Pearce-Pratt experiments did not give all the details of procedure and experimental conditions that we now consider necessary. West and some other parapsychologists appear to be ready to blame Rhine for this failure. Stevenson (1967), for example, writes, 'Rhine had already published informal reports [of the Pearce—Pratt experiment] in two of his popular books and it is doubtful procedure in science to announce one's results first to the general public and then (in this case many years later) present a detailed report for scientists' (p. 259). I believe these accusations are unfair. It is not the case that Rhine announced his results first to the public. The results of the Pearce—Pratt experiment were first published in The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology (Rhine, 1936) and were only subsequently mentioned in his popular books. (The first of these, New Frontiers of the Mind, appeared in 1938.) The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology is a respected journal in mainstream psychology and Rhine had no editorial control over it. Does this not clearly imply that the additional details that we now consider necessary were not considered so then by the psychologists who refereed his paper and the editors who published it? The Journal of Parapsychology was in existence then and if Rhine published his report in it with inadequate details, we might have had some reason to blame him for not giving them all. The truth is that details of the sort that we now require of parapsychological reports were simply not found necessary then. When it became increasingly clear that further details of the experimental procedure were called for, Rhine and Pratt published a detailed report in 1954.

Now, the more serious of the criticisms relates to the discrepancies between various published accounts of the experiment. Several of these are trivial and none is sufficient to call into question the veracity of the experiment or the credibility of the experimenters. Interestingly, Hansel makes more errors in his very brief review of the experiment than do the authors. Here are some examples.

He writes, 'The scores published in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology disagree with those in the Journal of Parapsychology. They give total hits for the four subseries as: A, 179; B, 288; C, 86; D, 56. The individual scores quoted are also in a different order for subseries Β and C from those given in the Journal of Parapsychology' (1980, 120—121). Here Hansel gives the total scores as reported in one journal and not in the other. Therefore, the reader does not really know the magnitude of the discrepancies. More significantly, neither report actually gives the total number of hits in each of the four subseries as Hansel implies. These totals, it appears, are computed by Hansel from the footnote on page 222 of The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology (1936). He found they differed from those obtained by adding up individual scores as given in the Journal of Parapsychology (1954) report. I did the same and came up with different figures. Hansel gives the total hits for subseries A as 179. Actually, the total score that one would obtain by adding up individual scores given in footnotes in both reports or by computing from the average and deviation scores given in the main body of the reports is 119. So Hansel in his computation makes an error much larger than anything that he finds in the reports he criticizes. Again, as far as this score is concerned, there is no discrepancy between the two reports.

[...]

Ben Steigmann said...

As for subseries B, the individual scores as given in the footnotes add up to 288 and 295 in the 1936 and 1954 reports, respectively. Recall that totals are not given in the reports, but can be computed by us from the footnotes as well as from the results presented in the main body of the reports. In the table on page 222 of The Abnormal and Social Psychology report, we find that for subseries B there are 1100 trials and the average score for 25 trials is 6.7. From this, it is clear that even in this report the total number of hits for subseries Β is 295, the same as that given in the Journal of parapsychology report. So there is no discrepancy here.

It would appear that a few of the individual scores as given in the footnote for the 1936 article were misprinted and that one score was inadvertently left out. The footnote gives only 43 scores when there should have been 44.

Hansel leaves the impression that Rhine and Pratt were unmindful of the errors in the first report. This was not so. A footnote in the Journal of Parapsychology article (Rhine and Pratt, 1954) reads: 'In the two reports ... in which the run scores of the series were published, the scores of subseries Β and C were not given consecutively, and there were two other minor errors. It seems worthwhile, therefore, to list the complete run scores in chronological order here' (p. 171). Here is the explanation of the discrepancy in the sequence of the scores as given in the 1936 and 1954 reports. Surely Hansel cannot be unaware of this: he gets the individual scores from this footnote only.

While it is regrettable that there were errors in the first report, though inconsequential in themselves, I wonder how many of us can honestly say that we make no such errors. As I have pointed out, Hansel himself commits a few. To give a few more, reference 8 on page 119 which has to do with Extra-Sensory Perception After Sixty Years refers on page 123 to (The) Reach of the Mind (incidentally, The was omitted); reference 9 to The Reach of the Mind on page 119 is listed in the notes on page 123 as New World of the Mind. On page 121 Hansel mentions Frontiers of the Mind by J. B. Rhine. He obviously means New Frontiers of the Mind.

In evaluating Hansel's critique, we should bear in mind that the records of the Pearce-Pratt experiment are still in existence, and that they were examined in the past by others and re-checked by Stuart, Greenwood and Murphy. Again, Hansel himself was at Duke with Rhine and Pratt and they would have easily clarified these matters, if Hansel had raided them then. Hansel (1961) did not refer to these discrepancies in his first critique of this experiment published in the Journal of Parapsychology.

In summary, then, Hansel's criticism of the Pearce-Pratt experiment is not entirely reliable. But the fact that his words have been taken seriously by such persons as Dr. West makes me wonder whether there is some truth in the saying that if someone shouts long and loud enough he will be heard without regard to what he says."

Ben Steigmann said...

Hansel misrepresented much else, I can recall a reference concerning his misrepresentation of the work with Pavel Stepanek - Martin Gardner notably did this and was noted to have attempted to bribe Stepanek. This would obviously mean that whatever "personal information" he uses to attack the field is unreliable, and everything he writes needs to be independently verified for omissions and distortions.

Radin's response to "skepticism" posted above cites Child's 1985 paper regarding the misrepresentations of the Maimonides dream ESP experiments by Alcock, Zusne & Jones, and Hansel. Hansel had claimed that the agent had communicated with the experimenter during the dream telepathy experiments, but this was false. During the experiment the agent did not at any time communicate with the experimenter and this was reported in the original monograph.

Stanley Krippner, in "New Frontiers of Human Science: A Festschrift for K. Ramakrishna Rao", p. 135, stated, "This behavior does not represent the collegiality that marks mature and considerate scientists. Even though Hansel's error had been pointed out by Akers, Child, and others, it was repeated in a 1985 paper.": http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=sb-HuOtqaPYC&pg=PA132&dq=%22Various+types+of+criticism+have+been+leveled+against+the+Maimonides%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=moLaU6PGNvOy7AaunYCIAg&ved=0CCMQuwUwAA#v=onepage&q=%22Various%20types%20of%20criticism%20have%20been%20leveled%20against%20the%20Maimonides%22&f=false

Hansen, in "CSICOP and the Skeptics: An Overview", p. 47n25, stated: "Randi’s antics should have come as no surprise to members of CSICOP because he has engaged in similar behavior in relation to psi research. Krippner (1977), Rao (1984), Targ and Puthoff (1977, pp. 182-186), and Tart (1982b) have all documented glaring errors of Randi. Dennis Stillings has demonstrated that “Randi is capable of gross distortion of facts” (Truzzi, 1987, p. 89). Randi has been quoted as saying, “I always have an out” with regard to his $10,000 challenge (Rawlins, 1981, p. 89). Puthoff and Targ (1977) documented a number of mistakes. In a published, handwritten, signed letter, Randi replied offering $1,000 if any claimed error could be demonstrated (see Fuller, 1979). Fuller proved Randi wrong. In a rejoinder to Puthoff and Targ (1977), Randi reversed himself (for a clear example, see point number 15 in Randi, 1982, p. 223). Randi should have paid the $1,000, but he never did."

Zofia Weaver argued in a defense of the career of and experiments with the Polish psychic Stefan Ossowiecki that the experiments, particularly the one by Eric Dingwall, was of sufficient quality to supersede the objections of David Marks to the methodological quality of clairvoyance tests, but that this was something Marks had overlooked.

Weaver wrote a text on Ossowiecki with Barrington and Stevenson entitled The World In A Grain of Sand: The Clairvoyance of Stefan Ossowiecki (McFarland & Company, Inc., 2005)

They argued that he was not omniscient, but did prove psi under controlled conditions, and as we can see from Appendix I of the aforementioned book on him, skeptical claims with regards to the work done with him by Poniatowski are misleading. Most of this work produced valid information (see especially experiments 9, 10, and 13, 14, and 15, highlighted in the text.

Most of his hits in the work with him were successful - Appendix II is devoted to this.

Ben Steigmann said...

2 conjuring experts praised the work done with Ossowiecki - see Dingwall (1922). An Experiment With the Polish Medium Stephan Ossowiecki.: https://ia802504.us.archive.org/27/items/moreitems/BestermanAnExperimentInClairvoyanceWithOssowieckiPsprVolume41_pg357to367.pdfhttps://ia802504.us.archive.org/27/items/moreitems/BestermanAnExperimentInClairvoyanceWithOssowieckiPsprVolume41_pg357to367.pdf

In this account of the experiment, published in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, after ruling out any possibility of access to the contents of the envelope by normal means, Dingwall concluded, "The supernormal character of the incident seems to me quite clear and decisive." Regarding this experiment conjuring expert Harry Price, in Fifty Years of Psychical Research, pp. 41-42, the following: "It is a relief to turn from rather clever conjuring tricks to the really abnormal cognizance of the contents of a sealed package, a feat accomplished during my attendance at the Second International Congress for Psychical Research, held at Warsaw in August and September, 1923) by the Polish engineer, Stefan Ossowiecki. Dr. E. J. Dingwall, then research officer of the (British) S.P.R., also attended the Congress and took with him a sealed package, consisting of coloured opaque envelopes, in which were a message in French, a date, and crude drawings of a bottle and a flag. By merely holding the package, Ossowiecki correctly visualized the flag and the bottle, the colours of the envelopes, and the numerals of the date, though not in the order as written. Because he had himself prepared the drawing, etc., and in order to eliminate the possibility of telepathy, Dingwall did not attend the experiment, the result of which was cheered by those present, Baron Schrenck-Notzing rushing up to the medium and crying "Merci, merci, au nom de la science!"

Smith (2009). Is Physicalism "Really" True? overviews remote viewing controversies, among other things (DMILS, etc.),contains the statement, on p. 212: "When the first edition of Marks’ and Kamman’s Psychology of the Psychic was published in 1980, there may have been some reason to question the original remote viewing research and replications, since there was still only a relatively small number of 212 trials (certainly not yet even 200) available in only a few publicly accessible studies. However, by the time Marks published the second edition of the book in 2000 (some years after Kamman’s death), there was much less justification – and justification has grown even less in the intervening years since that time.": http://repositories.lib.utexas.edu/bitstream/handle/2152/ETD-UT-2009-12-682/SMITH-DISSERTATION.pdf

Ben Steigmann said...

As regards the The American Institutes for Research (1995) paper "An Evaluation of Remote Viewing: Research and Applications", the Wikipedia commentary on this is so tendentious as to be fraudulent. The actual concluding commentary states: "remote viewers and project managers reported that remote viewing reports were changed to make them consistent with know background cues. WHILE THIS WAS APPROPRIATE IN THAT SITUATION, it makes it impossible to interpret the role of the paranormal phenomena independently. Also, it raises some doubts about some well-publicized cases of dramatic hits, which, if taken at face value, could not easily be attributed to background cues. In at least some of these cases, there is reason to suspect, based on both subsequent investigations and the viewers' statement that reports had been "changed" by previous program managers, that substantially more background information was available than one might at first assume." (Emphasis added): http://www.lfr.org/lfr/csl/library/airreport.pdf

Paul Hamilton Smith has stated to me in personal communication, "the original quote and the context in which it is found leave holes large enough to drive a truck through. I don't have time right now, but sometime downstream I may write a rebuttal to the arguments there, as they are misleading and based on limited data that don't support the conclusions they jump to."

Commentary by Jimmy Carter refutes the assertion that no valuable intelligence was gained from this work: http://www.politico.com/click/stories/1010/carters_weird_science.html

May has further critical commentary regarding AIR - if you get his new "Anomalous Cognition" book, you will see a footnote to that article as reprinted in the book providing information revealing that the AIR investigation was essentially fraudulent: http://www.lfr.org/LFR/csl/media/air_mayresponse.html

Hansen, Utts, & Markwick (1992). Critique of the PEAR Remote Viewing Experiments

was responded to by

Dobyns, Dunne, Jahn, & Nelson (1992). Response to Hansen, Utts, and Markwick: Statistical and Methodological Problems of the PEAR Remote Viewing (sic) Experiments.

Critics like Pigliucci have cited one but not the other.

As regards the SAIC work and Wiseman's criticisms, are online but May's rebuttal is not. Wiseman wrote further commentary, but Loyd Auerbach, co-author of a book with May, stated to me in a personal communication today: "The editor of the journal had agreed that all of the criticisms were answered in Ed's response and that further debate served no purpose."

Wiseman nevertheless conceded: "I agree that by the standards of any other area of science that remote viewing is proven": http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-510762/Could-proof-theory-ALL-psychic.html

Ben Steigmann said...

As regards the The American Institutes for Research (1995) paper "An Evaluation of Remote Viewing: Research and Applications", the Wikipedia commentary on this is so tendentious as to be fraudulent. The actual concluding commentary states: "remote viewers and project managers reported that remote viewing reports were changed to make them consistent with know background cues. WHILE THIS WAS APPROPRIATE IN THAT SITUATION, it makes it impossible to interpret the role of the paranormal phenomena independently. Also, it raises some doubts about some well-publicized cases of dramatic hits, which, if taken at face value, could not easily be attributed to background cues. In at least some of these cases, there is reason to suspect, based on both subsequent investigations and the viewers' statement that reports had been "changed" by previous program managers, that substantially more background information was available than one might at first assume." (Emphasis added): http://www.lfr.org/lfr/csl/library/airreport.pdf

Paul Hamilton Smith has stated to me in personal communication, "the original quote and the context in which it is found leave holes large enough to drive a truck through. I don't have time right now, but sometime downstream I may write a rebuttal to the arguments there, as they are misleading and based on limited data that don't support the conclusions they jump to."

Commentary by Jimmy Carter refutes the assertion that no valuable intelligence was gained from this work: http://www.politico.com/click/stories/1010/carters_weird_science.html

May has further critical commentary regarding AIR - if you get his new "Anomalous Cognition" book, you will see a footnote to that article as reprinted in the book providing information revealing that the AIR investigation was essentially fraudulent: http://www.lfr.org/LFR/csl/media/air_mayresponse.html

Hansen, Utts, & Markwick (1992). Critique of the PEAR Remote Viewing Experiments

was responded to by

Dobyns, Dunne, Jahn, & Nelson (1992). Response to Hansen, Utts, and Markwick: Statistical and Methodological Problems of the PEAR Remote Viewing (sic) Experiments.

Critics like Pigliucci have cited one but not the other.

As regards the SAIC work and Wiseman's criticisms, are online but May's rebuttal is not. Wiseman wrote further commentary, but Loyd Auerbach, co-author of a book with May, stated to me in a personal communication today: "The editor of the journal had agreed that all of the criticisms were answered in Ed's response and that further debate served no purpose."

Wiseman nevertheless conceded: "I agree that by the standards of any other area of science that remote viewing is proven": http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-510762/Could-proof-theory-ALL-psychic.html

Ben Steigmann said...

In the debate following the article "An Anomaly called psi: recent research and criticism", the initial article which refuted Ray Hyman and CEM Hansel regarding Helmut Schmidt's experiments, Schmidt, in a follow up, countered Alcock's criticisms, and Alcock had follow up commentarry:

Parker & Brusewitz, in their 2003 "Compendium of Evidence for Psi", stated: "Hansel and later James Alcock in a more specific form proposed that Schmidt’s results might have been due to his participants capitalizing on local biases in the target sequences. A study by John Palmer analyzed these sequences and rejected this hypothesis:

Palmer, J. (1996) Evaluation of a conventional interpretation of Helmut Schmidt’s automated precognitive experiments. Journal of Parapsychology, 60, 149-170. [this is in the precognition section - Palmer later tested another one of Alcock's hypotheses in a way more critical of Schmidt, but that still ended up rejecting Alcock's views: http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Hit-contingent+response+bias+in+Helmut+Schmidt's+automated...-a020576516]

The other main criticism that Hansel (1980) made concerning that Schmidt worked alone, was answered by Schmidt (1993, below) in which his highly successful results were independently observed and replicated.

Schmidt, H. (1993) Observation of a psychokinetic effect under highly controlled conditions. Journal of Parapsychology, 57, 357-372. [this summarized 5 such replications revolving around the Schmidt, Morris, Rudolph work -with other independent observers - Radin has important commentary about this in The Conscious Universe, an apparently this was of sufficient quality to catch the attention of Henry Stapp and provide the impetus for this paper: http://www-physics.lbl.gov/~stapp/purported.pdf]

Alcock had other objections: "the apparatus used to "capture" this randomness has varied considerably, leading me to reiterate that the REG, which is more than just radioactive decay, has varied from experiment to experiment"

and "In many of the studies, there are varying numbers of trials or sessions per subject, and these are usually combined."

Regarding this Radin stated in personal communication:
"he study of different sources of randomness was a logical progression in these experiments because after seeing an effect with say electron tunneling, the question naturally arose as to whether there was something special about tunneling or whether the key factor was randomness itself, and not the precise physical source. The RNG MAs have generally kept track of the type of randomness to see if the difference sources make a difference. They don't (this is only true for true randomness and not pseudorandom sources).

Variations in the number of trials and sessions per subject also occurred naturally to see if those factors mattered, and also because hardly anyone is obsessive enough to run exactly the same experiment again and again. That is, except for PEAR, which did exactly that for over a decade. And then critics don't like those results because they think it is suspicious because one operator performed better than the others. Having spent three years at Princeton working closely with the PEAR lab, I can attest to the fact that they were as obsessively careful as any research team I've ever met."

Ben Steigmann said...

Mishlove noted, when discussing the experiments of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research laboratory, in the chapter of his book Roots of Consciousness regarding PK, "The Princeton team has gone to great lengths to try to ensure that their equipment is unbiased. Internal circuits are continually monitored with regard to internal temperature, input voltage, etc. Successive switching of the relationship between the sign of the noise and the sign of the output pulse on a trial-to-trial basis was done to provide a further safeguard against machine bias. Results were automatically recorded and analyzed. Extensive tests of the machine's output and its individual components were also carried out at times separate from the test sessions. The provision of baseline trials interspersed with test trials provided a randomization check which overcame some of the weaknesses of Schmidt's procedure.

Psi researcher John Palmer has drawn attention to the fact that there is no documentation regarding measures to prevent data tampering by subjects. This is of concern since the subject was left alone in the room during the formal sessions along with the REG.

In evaluating these studies, skeptic James Alcock claimed that only one subject (Operator 10) accounted for virtually all the significance departures from chance in the Princeton studies. Noting that details regarding precautions against subject cheating were not specified, Alcock stated:

"I am not trying to suggest that this subject cheated; I am only pointing out that it would appear that such a possibility is not ruled out. Had the subject been monitored at all times, such a worry could have been avoided or at least reduced."

The Princeton team has chosen a policy of keeping the identity of all experimental subjects anonymous -- among other reasons, in order to eliminate motivation for subjects to cheat. However, the fact that Subject 10 contributed considerably more to the database than any other subject, suggests that this individual was either a member of the experimental team or someone who had become a close friend of the experimenters. As such, Subject 10 might well have had access to information which would make it possible to tamper with the data recording system.

In response to the criticisms of Palmer and Alcock, the Princeton researchers have prepared a detailed analysis of the equipment, calibration procedures and various precautions against data-tampering. According to the researchers, the automated and redundant on-line recording of data preclude data tampering -- as does the protocol requirement that the printer record be on one continuous, unbroken paper strip. It would appear that all necessary precautions have been taken, short of submitting subjects to constant visual observation. The subjects are submitted to intermittant visual observation which the researchers believe is sufficient to control against tampering with the equipment, given their particular setup.

[...]

Ben Steigmann said...

In further response to Alcock's critique, the Princeton team conducted further analyses of the data which show that the anomalous RNG effects were contributed by most of the subjects, and were not dependent upon the scores of Subject 10. Several other subjects, who participated in fewer experimental trials, actually had scores with greater chance deviations. By analyzing the data from only the first series of 7,500 trials (1,500,000 binary digits) from each subject, it was possible to level the influence that Subject 10 exerted on the database. In this analysis, with each subject carrying an equal weight, the results were significantly beyond chance. Another analysis was conducted which eliminated all of the data from Subject 10. This, too, was statistically significant.

A comprehensive meta-analytic review of the RNG research literature encompassing all known RNG studies between 1959 and 1987 has been reported by Radin and Nelson, comprising over 800 experimental and control studies conducted by a total of 68 different investigators. The probability 597 experimental series was p < 10-35, whereas 235 control series yielded an overall score well within the range of chance fluctuation. In order to account for the observed experimental results on the basis of selective reporting (assuming no other methodological flaws), it would require "file drawers" full of more than 50,000 unreported studies averaging chance results." : http://www.williamjames.com/Science/PK.htm

Regarding other skepticism of PEAR, see "The Parapsychology Revolution" compiled by Robert Schoch in 2008, pp. 144-145.

Most importantly though, the Office of Technology Assessment repudiated Alcock's negative NRC assessment of Jahn's work. Everybody discusses the NRC report, but few discuss the OTA rebuttal: https://ia902504.us.archive.org/27/items/moreitems/OfficeOfTechnologyAssessmentReportOnParapsychology.pdf

Ben Steigmann said...

I remember mentioning the argument that there was deceit on the part of Ray Hyman in the NRC report in suppressing data. After a review of the National Research Council Report, Col. John B. Alexander stated:

"It seems clear that Hyman and James Alcock proceeded on an intentional path to discredit the work in parapsychology. ... What, may we ask, are they so afraid of? Is prevailing scientific orthodoxy so vital that they must deny evidence and suppress contrary opinion?" - "Enhancing Human Performance: A challenge to the report." New Realities, 9(4), 10-15, 52-53: https://ia902504.us.archive.org/27/items/moreitems/EnhancingHumanPerformanceChallenge.pdf

Jessica Utts also argued that the NRC engaged in data suppression: http://projecteuclid.org/euclid.ss/1177011577, Hyman argued against this charge: http://projecteuclid.org/euclid.ss/1177011582, and Utts reaffirmed her position: http://projecteuclid.org/euclid.ss/1177011585

We have seen above how Terence Hines' comment that Bem and Honorton committed errors was fictitious. Charges of sensory leakage have been met by counter charges: http://www.parapsy.nl/uploads/w1/GFsoundleakage_PA95.pdf

The statement by Hyman - The most suspicious pattern was the fact that the hit rate for a given target increased with the frequency of occurrence of that target in the experiment. The hit rate for the targets that occurred only once was right at the chance expectation of 25%. For targets that appeared twice the hit rate crept up to 28%. For those that occurred three times it was 38%, and for those targets that occurred six or more times, the hit rate was 52%. Each time a videotape is played its quality can degrade. It is plausible then, that when a frequently used clip is the target for a given session, it may be physically distinguishable from the other three decoy clips that are presented to the subject for judging. Surprisingly, the parapsychological community has not taken this finding seriously. They still include the autoganzfeld series in their meta-analyses and treat it as convincing evidence for the reality of psi."

was countered on p. 27 pf this paper: http://deanradin.com/evidence/Bem1994-2.pdf - "Higher repetitions of a target necessarily occur later in the sequence than lower repetitions. In turn, the chronological sequence of sessions is confounded with several other variables, including more experienced experimenters, more “talented” receivers (e.g., Juilliard students and receivers being retested because of earlier successes), and methodological refinements introduced in the course of the program in an effort to enhance psi performance (e.g., experimenter “prompting”). Again, Hyman’s major concern is that this pattern might reflect an interaction between inadequate target randomization and possible response biases on the part of those receivers or experimenters who encounter the same judging set more than once. This seems highly unlikely. In the entire database, only 8 subjects saw the same judging set twice, and none of them performed better on the repetition than on the initial session. Similar arithmetic applies to experimenters: On average, each of the eight experimenters encountered a given judging set only 1.03 times. The worst case is an experimenter who encountered the same judging set 6 times over the 6 1/2 years of the program. These six sessions yielded three hits, two of them in the first two sessions."

The claim that Wiseman failed to replicate Ganzfeld results is misleading when you consider the paper Bem, Palmer, & Broughton (2001). Updating the Ganzfeld Database: A Victim of its own Success?: http://www.ntskeptics.org/news/Updating_Ganzfeld.pdf

The article Tressoldi, Storm, & Radin (2010). Extrasensory Perception and Quantum Models of Cognition:

argues about the Ganzfeld results: "The overall results now provide unambiguous evidence for an
independently repeatable ESP effect": http://www.psy.unipd.it/~tressold/cmssimple/uploads/includes/ESPNQ010.pdf

Ben Steigmann said...

Rouder et al (2013). A Bayes Factor Meta-Analysis of Recent Extrasensory Perception Experiments: Comment on Storm, Tressoldi, and Di Risio (2010)

was answered by

Storm et al (2013). Testing the Storm et al. (2010) Meta-Analysis Using Bayesian and Frequentist Approaches: Reply to Rouder et al. (2013)

though critics tendentiously don't mention this. Storm et al (2010). A Meta-Analysis With Nothing to Hide: Reply to Hyman (2010) noted that Hyman misrepresented the claims of parapsychologists. Tressoldi (2011). Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence: the case of non-local perception, a classical and Bayesian review of evidences is particularly interesting to read in considering the evidential value of the Ganzfeld experiments.

Wiseman in 2010 argued that parapsychologists nullify null results: http://www.csicop.org/si/show/heads_i_win_tails_you_loser_how_parapsychologists_nullify_null_results/

Carter in 2010 argued that Wiseman nullified positive results: http://www.deanradin.com/evidence/Carter2010.pdf

Baptista and Derakshani in 2014 argued that Wiseman created a caricature of parapsychology: http://www.academia.edu/7767705/Beyond_the_Coin_Toss_Examining_Wisemans_Criticisms_of_Parapsychology


Bem noted, regarding the studies of which this post discusses meta-analysis: "What Wiseman never tells people is in Ritchie, Wiseman and French is that his online registry where he asked everyone to register, first of all he provided a deadline date. I don’t know of any serious researcher working on their own stuff who is going to drop everything and immediately do a replication… anyway, he and Ritchie and French published these three studies. Well, they knew that there were three other studies that had been submitted and completed and two of the three showed statistically significant results replicating my results. But you don’t know that from reading his article. That borders on dishonesty.": http://www.skeptiko.com/daryl-bem-responds-to-parapsychology-debunkers/

Now we get to the current meta-analysis under discussion.

Ben Steigmann said...

I need to clarify how the OTA report repudiated Alcock. It did so in its citation of Brenda J. Dunne, Roger D. Nelson, Y. H. Dobyns & Robert G. Jahn, Individual Operator Contributions in Large Data Base Anomalies Experiments, Technical Note PEAR 88002. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University School of Engineering and Applied Science, 1988., which showed that the anomalous RNG effects were contributed by most of the subjects, and were not dependent upon the scores of Subject 10. (also as cited by Mishlove)

Other aspects of the report, while not being entirely in the realm of advocacy for parapsychology, certainly presented a much more neutral view than the discredited NRC report.