Showing posts from April, 2007

HABS syndrome

I enjoyed this remark from an article about the author Kingsley Amis in The New Yorker (April 23, 2007), by Adam Gopnik: It is a very good thing to have a built-in bullshit detector, but a bad thing when the bullshit detector crowds out the rest of your brain; that's why they call it being narrow-minded. You quickly reach the stage where anything ambitious, complicated, or merely foreign gets spat on along with the things that are genuinely phoney. I'd add to this that those with HABS (hyperactive BS) syndrome, including cynics who proudly belong to "skeptics" societies, -- which revel in the presumed stupidity of others who don't belong to the club -- tend to reflexively spit on anything they regard as unorthodox or anomalous, including claims of psi experiences and experiments supporting those claims. This is not to say that a refined BS detector is a bad thing. On the contrary, it is a necessity, especially when it comes to evaluating all those exciting new opp

Some noteworthy books

Nancy Zingrone provides a nice annotated list (reachable here ) of 36 basic books on parapsychology covering the history and evidence of this field. Another book to consider: The Spirit of Dr. Bindelof: The Enigma of Séance Phenomena by Rosemarie Pilkington, PhD. You can read about it here , including a sample chapter. Warning, this book is likely to push your boggle threshold. But I know Rosemarie, and I know she's meticulous about her facts, so prepare to be boggled.

The trouble with Wiki

The idea of a large, user-contributed encyclopedia is, in principle, a good one. But the implementation of the largest such effort to date, the Wikipedia, is an excellent example of how good ideas can go dreadfully wrong. Authors of Wikipedia articles are anonymous in many cases, so expertise in the topic is not vetted for accuracy or depth. Worse, for controversial topics and for biographies of living persons, experts are specifically asked not to contribute to the articles. I discovered this when attempting to correct factual errors in the entry page on my name, and for the Institute of Noetic Sciences. I've been asked not to edit these pages, even though I am arguably the expert on me, and an expert on IONS, because it violates Wikipedia's guidelines. The most persistent editors on Wikipedia, by the way, largely seem to be 20-something students who are riding high on arrogance, because like all kids, they're suffering under the delusion that they know everything. (I rec

Radio shows

This week I participated in a series of radio shows all around the US, promoting Entangled Minds , which can be purchased for one dollar as part of an IONS membership promotion. The stations included WPEG-FM (Charlotte), KXXR-FM (Minneapolis), WOCA-FM (Gainesville), WEOL-AM (Cleveland), WICO-FM (regional Baltimore), KSFR-FM (NPR, Santa Fe), FRES-FM (Columbia), Voice of America, WLRN-FM (NPR, Miami), WMEL-AM (Daytona Beach), WQUB-FM (NPR, Illinois), WFTL (regional Florida), WLW-AM (Cincinnati), KRLD-AM (Dallas), KKZZ-AM (Los Angeles), KXKL-FM (Denver), KFWB-AM (Los Angeles), and KPQ-AM (Spokane). I have a few more stations remaining on the "tour" next week, including KSVY-FM (NRP, Sonoma) and KLPW-AM (St. Louis). In general, I do not enjoy the self-promotional aspects that are necessarily associated with being an author (that is, necessary assuming the author wants to sell books!). I have author friends who love traveling on speaking tours; they're on the road almost conti

More lunacy. Not.

In the most recent issue of the Journal of Scientific Exploration , Peter Sturrock and James Spottiswoode report another confirmation of a lunar phase relationship with psi perception performance. Their paper is entitled "Time-series power spectrum analysis of performance in free response anomalous cognition experiments." Their analysis was based on 3,325 free response trials. The reason I mention this finding and the one recently published by Eckhard Etzold is because over 10 years ago I published two articles on this topic, both finding lunar phase relationships with psi performance, one based on casino payout data. At the time no one paid much attention to those reports (except for a few skeptics, who felt that mixing lunar effects with psi in the casino was further justification for simply dismissing this realm of research). So it is gratifying to see that independent analyses are now finding the same result.

Quantum Enigma

Here's a new book I highly recommend for those who wish to learn why physics and consciousness are inextricably linked, regardless of how much some physicists may wish to exclude this "skeleton in the closet" from their domain. The authors are physics professors at the University of California at Santa Cruz and critics of movies like "What the Bleep." To read more about the book, go to the authors' website here .