Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Larry King Live show

I taped a Larry King Live show last November with J.Z. Knight, Candace Pert, Fred Alan Wolf, Will Arntz (producer of the What the Bleep movie) and Edgar Mitchell.

I'm told it will air on CNN Saturday, August 2 at 6pm PT, 9pm PT & Midnight PT.

My main recollection of the show is that the hair and makeup artists were amazing. Because of the high resolution of HD TV, some makeup artists are now using airbrushes. I guess if you use traditional pancake, the makeup is too obvious in hi-def. I also saw the singer Wayne Newton in the green room after the show. Other than that, it all went by in a blur and I have no idea what I said.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

newsclip: Global Consciousness Project

Note that the comment that they're "just looking for patterns in random data" is absolutely not true. See the website for more details on the hypothesis-testing nature of this experiment.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Another elephant in the room

IONS' founder, Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, was recently in the news because he stated on a British radio show what he's been saying for years: That UFOs are real. For some reason, this time his comments caught the attention of the news media, including a New York Times blog.

The Times comment was notable because it reflected the mainstream (in this context meaning something like "serious and sober") media's stance on this topic: UFOs are fodder for news of the weird, which includes anything outside a very thin slice of acceptable topics.

There is plenty of evidence to support Mitchell's opinion that UFOs should be taken seriously. As with any complex topic, it takes some dedicated homework to find and digest the relevant literature. But once that is done, it is difficult to go away without the opinion that something interesting is going on. Whether "it" is ET I still find to be debatable, but that there is a genuine mystery afoot, is clear.

Unfortunately, as long as topics like UFOs and psi are associated with high giggle factors, no mainstream reporter is going to jeopardize his/her career by sounding too sympathetic when discussing these topics publicly. So the status quo is likely to persist.

But I often hear the private opinions of scientists and reporters, including those from august universities like Harvard and newspapers like the New York Times, so I know that there are far more people in prominent positions who privately are keenly interested in these topics. Far more than is suggested by how these topics are reported in public. But it takes courage to expose the elephant in the room, and few have been willing to exercise that courage, especially when the price to pay could be one's career.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Compassionate Intention paper published

In EXPLORE July/August 2008, Vol. 4, No. 4 235


Dean Radin, Jerome Stone, Ellen Levine, Shahram Eskandarnejad, Marilyn Schlitz, Leila Kozak, Dorothy Mandel and Gail Hayssen

Objective: This double-blind study investigated the effects of intention on the autonomic nervous system of a human “sender” and distant “receiver” of those intentions, and it explored the roles that motivation and training might have in modulating these effects.

Design: Skin conductance level was measured in each member of a couple, both of whom were asked to feel the presence of the other. While the receiving person relaxed in a distant shielded room for 30 minutes, the sending person directed intention toward the receiver during repeated 10-second epochs separated by random interepoch periods. Thirty-six couples participated in 38 test sessions. In 22 couples, one of the pair was a cancer patient. In 12 of those couples, the healthy person was trained to direct intention toward the patient and asked to practice that intention daily for three months prior to the experiment (trained group). In the other 10 couples, the pair was tested before the partner was trained (wait group). Fourteen healthy couples received no training (control group).

Outcome measures: Using nonparametric bootstrap procedures, normalized skin conductance means recorded during the intention epochs were compared with the same measures recorded during randomly selected interepoch periods, used as controls. The preplanned difference examined the intention versus control means at the end of the intention epoch.

Results: Overall, receivers’ skin conductance increased during the intention epochs (z = 3.9; p < 0.00009, two-tailed). Planned differences in skin conductance among the three groups were not significant, but a post hoc analysis showed that peak deviations were largest and most sustained in the trained group, followed by more moderate effects in the wait group, and still smaller effects in the control group.

Conclusions: Directing intention toward a distant person is correlated with activation of that person’s autonomic nervous system. Strong motivation to heal and to be healed, and training on how to cultivate and direct compassionate intention, may further enhance this effect.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Post Modern Times

I was interviewed by Daniel Pinchbeck for Post Modern Times, a "series of short animated films presenting new ideas about global consciousness and techniques for social and ecological transformation."

You can watch part of that interview in two videos at this link.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Two conferences

Last week I was in Boulder, attending first the annual ISSSEEM conference, and then the annual SSE conference. The former meeting was focused on subtle energies and energy medicine, the latter on scientific anomalies.

There is some overlap in the interests of these two societies because no one knows exactly what subtle energies are, except that they are associated with living systems in some important way, they underlie concepts like chi, prana, and kundalini, and they're used in therapies like acupuncture, Therapeutic Touch, Reiki, and Johrei. Some people claim to feel these "energies" quite strongly, and as such they are anomalous since most instruments conventionally used to measure energies (like electromagnetic and electrostatic fields) don't detect anything.

I suppose like many scientists, before I experienced a flow of subtle energies (for want of a better term) during a couple of bodywork sessions, I was skeptical that such reports were anything more than hallucination or wishful thinking. Afterwards, I had no doubt that whatever it is, it is not hallucinatory and nor is it subtle.

One highlight of the ISSSEEM meeting for me was physicist Brian Greene's talk on quantum mechanics and string theory. Nothing he said was new, but he is an entertaining speaker and presented some basic concepts with clever animations. I was hoping he would talk about the spookier aspects of quantum theory, but he skillfully avoided any hint that consciousness is inextricably wound into quantum mechanics. When a questioner from the audience asked about the possible role of intention in quantum theory, to my surprise he denied any role at all. When I gave a presentation the next day at the same conference, I gently corrected his mistake.

I thought the highlight of the SSE meeting was a presentation by Paul Hellyer, former Canadian Minister of Defence. He stated in no uncertain terms that not only are UFOs real, physical craft, but that there are aliens among us. Other speakers, including Col. John Alexander, agreed that the preponderence of the evidence for UFOs is now overwhelming, but he questioned Hellyer's assertion about aliens.

Over the years I've read a fair bit about UFOs, and I've listened to credible people saying incredible things. I've been most influenced by speaking to Edgar Mitchell, Jacques Vallee, and John Alexander, and reading Richard Dolan's works. While I haven't seen a UFO myself, I am persuaded by these researchers that UFOs are physical things in the sky (and sometimes in the ocean), they respond to radar like real physical objects, they have been observed close-up by experienced pilots, sometimes by hundreds to thousands of witnesses on the ground, and they occasionally leave physical traces on the ground. And yet, they seem to be associated with consciousness in some ill-defined way, and at times their behavior suggests that they are not entirely physical.

All this presents a significant challenge to the everyday world portrayed by the nightly TV news, which rarely mentions UFOs, and when it does it's usually just ridiculed. As a result, the topic is very rarely discussed in scientific forums, which is a pity. Just as psi offers a challenge to prevailing theories about the mind-matter and mind-brain relationships, UFOs challenge our idea about what sort of reality we think we're living in.