Showing posts from 2009

Rupert Sheldrake: Telephone Telepathy

Rupert's genius is developing simple, scientifically sound ways of demonstrating psi phenomena. Telephone telepathy is one of my favorites, and this video is a great way of showing how the test works, and a glimpse at the results.

ESP Trainer by Russell Targ

See this page for information about Russell Targ’s ESP Trainer app for the iPhone. As it says on Russell’s webpage, In a year long NASA program with 145 subjects (under Contract 953653 NAS7-100) many were able to significantly improve their scores. Four of the subjects improved their scores at the hundred-to-one level or better. This approach has been used with surprising success on Wall Street. But of course, past results are no guarantee of future performance. Because you are learning a new skill, slower is better than faster. If you find yourself frequently scoring 12 or more, write to the developer: Contact Russell Targ

Dynamic entanglement in living systems

As I discussed in Entangled Minds: From the November 3, 2009 issue of Scientific American Wouldn’t it be nice to be an electron? Then you, too, could take advantage of the marvels of quantum mechanics, such as being in two places at once—very handy for juggling the competing demands of modern life. Alas, physicists have long spoiled the fantasy by saying that quantum mechanics applies only to microscopic things. Yet that is a myth. In the modern view that has gained traction in the past decade, you don’t see quantum effects in everyday life not because you are big, per se, but because those effects are camouflaged by their own sheer complexity. They are there if you know how to look, and physicists have been realizing that they show up in the macroscopic world more than they thought. “The standard arguments may be too pessimistic as to the survival of quantum effects,” says Nobel laureate physicist Anthony Leggett of the University of Illinois. ... This work suggests that, contrary to

Big Bang Theory

This clip from the TV show, The Big Bang Theory , could be a documentary of my life, although as an empiricist I spend somewhat more time collecting and analyzing data, and then staring at computers, rather than staring at equations on whiteboards. But I can easily stare at an analysis for a few days too, so this scene isn't all that far off.

The Noetic Universe

This is the cover of a reprint of The Conscious Universe , to be published in the UK soon. I wrote a new Preface for this book, which is aimed to ride the wave of interest in noetic science as a result of Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol . Publishers often look for books that accommodate the public's request for more information on certain topics, and that's what happened here. I approved the publisher's recommendation for the revised title and new book jacket (which I like much more than the original jacket with the silly floating spoon!).

Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness

This is an excellent video talk on quantum mechanics and consciousness, by astrophysicist Bernard Haisch, given at the Society for Scientific Exploration meeting in July 2009 .

Mind modulated randomness?

Exploratory Evidence for Correlations Between Entrained Mental Coherence and Random Physical Systems Journal of Scientific Exploration , Vol 23 (3), 2009 DEAN RADIN Institute of Noetic Sciences F. HOLMES ATWATER The Monroe Institute Abstract - An experiment tested whether mental coherence entrained in groups would affect sequences of data generated by truly random number generators (RNGs) in the vicinity of those groups. Coherence was entrained by having groups listen to a prescribed series of binaural-beat rhythms during a 6-day workshop. Two RNGs based on electronic noise and one on radioactive decay latencies were located in the building where the workshops took place. Random data were continually collected from these RNGs during 14 workshops. As controls, the same RNGs generated data in the same locations and times but during 8 weeks when no workshops took place. Other RNGs in two distant locations were run as additional controls. An exploratory hypothesis predicted that fluctuati

The Lost Symbol, found

Dan Brown's (author of The DaVinci Code) new book, The Lost Symbol , was published yesterday. It immediately leapt to the top of the bestselling charts and will undoubtedly stay there a while. Unbeknownst to us, or to practically anyone else because of the tight embargo on the plot, the heroine Katherine Solomon in the book is a "noetic scientist," and the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) is cited along with a fair bit of that character's view of noetic science. The fictional Katherine appears to be a composite of several real-life noetic scientists. I am Senior Scientist at the actual Institute of Noetic Sciences. We've added a few pages to the IONS web site to provide more information about what noetic science actually is, along with our current research portfolio, some of our journal publications, and audio and video interviews. You can find that information by going to our homepage and clicking on the "In the spotlight" image.

Skeptic agrees that remote viewing is proven

Excerpt from a January 2008 item in the UK's The Daily Mail newspaper: In 1995, the US Congress asked two independent scientists to assess whether the $20 million that the government had spent on psychic research had produced anything of value. And the conclusions proved to be somewhat unexpected. Professor Jessica Utts, a statistician from the University of California, discovered that remote viewers were correct 34 per cent of the time, a figure way beyond what chance guessing would allow. She says: "Using the standards applied to any other area of science, you have to conclude that certain psychic phenomena, such as remote viewing, have been well established. "The results are not due to chance or flaws in the experiments." Of course, this doesn't wash with sceptical scientists. Professor Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, refuses to believe in remote viewing. He says: "I agree that by the standards of any other area

The geomagnetic field and the stock market

Because I've written about a psi-GMF link, a reader sent me this a pointer to this interesting paper from Anna Krivelyova and Cesare Robotti of the Federal Reserve Board of Atlanta: Playing the Field: Geomagnetic Storms and the Stock Market Explaining movements in daily stock prices is one of the most difficult tasks in modern finance. This paper contributes to the existing literature by documenting the impact of geomagnetic storms on daily stock market returns. A large body of psychological research has shown that geomagnetic storms have a profound effect on people’s moods, and, in turn, people’s moods have been found to be related to human behavior, judgments and decisions about risk. An important finding of this literature is that people often attribute their feelings and emotions to the wrong source, leading to incorrect judgments. Specifically, people affected by geomagnetic storms may be more inclined to sell stocks on stormy days because they incorrectly attribute their bad

Something unknown

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

Intuition Through Time: What Does the Seer See?

My latest presentiment study , published in Explore, coauthored with Ana Borges . Title: Intuition Through Time: What Does the Seer See? Objective A great deal of human activity is involved in anticipating the future, from predicting the next influenza strain to the expectations that underlie the placebo effect. Most models of anticipation take for granted that events unfold in a unidirectional flow of time, from past to future. Two experiments were conducted to test this assumption. Design Pupillary dilation, spontaneous blinking, and eye movements were tracked before, during, and after participants viewed photographs with varying degrees of emotional affect. Photos were selected uniformly at random with replacement. Experiment one used 592 photos from the International Affective Picture System; experiment two used a custom-designed pool of 500 photos. Eye data before exposure to the photos were compared by using nonparametric techniques. Outcome Measures Eye data were predicted to s

Websites of interest

Here's a few interesting websites I've run across . Stacy Horn's blog . Stacy is author of Unbelievable , an excellent book about the J B Rhine era. Winston Wu's "debunking skeptics" site, SCEPCOP . In the spirit of the Skeptical Investigations website. Interchange Laboratories, Inc. is developing a mind-machine interface technology. Mark Zilberman's Intuition Tester and especially his " Artificial Intuition Device ." UC Irvine's Don Hoffman 's "User interface theory of perception" and other papers and materials. Prof. Hoffman gave a very interesting lecture at the recent Parapsychological Association conference held at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Quantum theory of reincarnation

On movie critic Roger Ebert's blog . A thoughtful essay.

Survival of consciousness

An excellent resource (articles, course handouts, and powerpoint slides) on survival of consciousness after bodily death, from Dr. Michael Sudduth, can be found here.

Combat intuition

Here's an interesting article in the New York Times , entitled "I n Battle, Hunches Prove to Be Valuable." The theme is how the neurosciences are beginning to take soldiers' intuitions seriously, and for very pragmatic reasons: " Everyone has hunches — about friends’ motives, about the stock market, about when to fold a hand of poker and when to hold it. But United States troops are now at the center of a large effort to understand how it is that in a life-or-death situation, some people’s brains can sense danger and act on it well before others’ do." Learning why some soldiers survive in combat better than others is a growing priority in the Department of Defense, and so research funds are beginning to flow. The cited article reads like an introduction to research I've been engaged in for about 15 years. Except for one difference. Conventional paradigms assume that these intuitions are entirely due to subconscious processing, forgotten knowledge, implic

Witch burning

The murder of eleven elderly people in Kenya, for supposedly being witches , is a stark reminder of one reason why psi remains a taboo -- a deep seated fear of supernatural and paranormal forces. We'd probably all like to believe that hysteria about witches disappeared long ago, but as the BBC news item (linked above) says, "Residents [in the town in Kenya] have been ambivalent about condemning the attacks because belief in witchcraft is widespread in the area...." This happened in 2009, not 15o9. Fear sustains the psi taboo even in first-world countries, partially because hysteria is just as easily inflamed in educated mobs as well as uneducated ones (witness our collective response to swine flu), but also because despite our common struggle towards rationality, there seems to be a natural human tendency to first condemn any sort of anomaly, and to ask questions later (if at all). While Western scientists exploring the bleeding edge of the known are not in danger of bein

I remember

Ah, the righteous arrogance of youth. I remember what it was like to feel intellectually superior to my college professors, many of whom seemed to be dullards who understood nothing. I grew out of that phase when I started to apply genuine skepticism, not just to others' beliefs, but to my own. Here is a good example of a young person who fits the profile of adolescent certainty (some people never grow out of this stage). Once a Christian, she lost her faith, followed by a commonly observed flip-flop -- she became a fervent atheist. Atheists, especially young ones in the midst of existential crisis, do not yet appreciate that their strong stance against religious faith is just faith of another color (i.e., scientism). They are also unable to distinguish between beliefs based on empirically testable ideas vs. beliefs based on faith. And like most true believers in scientism, they become very concerned that one might conduct experiments where the underlying mechanisms are not yet un

$2.5 billion spent, no alternative cures found

"Big, government-funded studies show most work no better than placebos," so say the headlines of an MSNBC article , where the $2.5 billion refers to funding over a 10 year period by the NIH's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. No alternative cures says the headline, but the body of the report mentions success with ginger capsules, acupuncture, yoga, massage, meditation, other relaxation methods ... So what doesn't work? A few herbal preparations. The same could be said for dozens of pharmaceuticals. What else? "... the government also is funding studies of purported energy fields, distance healing and other approaches that have little if any biological plausibility or scientific evidence." I've said this before, but I guess it deserves repeating: Should existing scientific models and theories, all of which are tentative, determine whether basic research should be conducted on phenomena reported throughout the ages, and for which

"My faith was broken ..."

Last week the National Public Radio program "All Things Considered" mentioned one of the distant intentionality studies that my colleagues and I published last year. The study showed that in emotionally bonded couples where one was healthy and the other was being treated for cancer, that when the healthy partner sent compassionate intention thoughts towards their loved one, then the physiological state of the patient, who was isolated at a distance, responded. This is one of a few dozen similar studies conducted over the past few decades. Cumulatively they show repeatable evidence that we are connected in spooky ways that resemble on a macro scale what quantum entanglement is on the micro scale. [These studies were not designed to test whether that connection affects healing.] It was predictable that some people would not like the NPR program. One of those comments appeared today in the Huffington Post by someone who was clearly miffed by the very concept that thoughts might

Superpowers Symposium 2009

Chris Knowles provides an excellent summary of a symposium on "superpowers" I attended at Esalen Institute in Big Sur last week. I am used to attending scientific conferences, which are often heavy on details, data and statistics. By contrast, this meeting was heavy on the humanities and light on science, a challenging but very refreshing change for me.  My talk was entitled "Reality 3.3," in which I attempted to show how our models of common sense have evolved over time. I identified 3 major shifts in historical worldviews, and I speculated about a 4th (Reality 4.0) that is almost on the horizon. The most startling part of the meeting for me was when Jacques Vallee spoke in detail about a UFO flap in Brazil. I hadn't realized the extent to which the Brazilian military was involved in studying that case, which persisted for three months, or the strength of the evidence, some of which is still classified.  

The Mystical Roots of Science Fiction

Here is a teaser of an audio clip interview with Jeff Kripal, author of the upcoming Authors of the Impossible (due out in early 2010). I've read an advance copy of that book, and I think his take on why people have always been drawn towards the paranormal is exactly right. As the blurb about his book says on the EnlightenNext website: [It's] about the relationship between mysticism, pop culture, and the paranormal. Weaving together an interesting combination of sources--from Philip K. Dick to the human potential movement to the UFOlogy of French astronomer Jacques Valle—he describes why he thinks that our general cultural obsession with science fiction, as seen in the popularity of TV shows like Heroes and movies like The X-Men , is a modern expression of the same spiritual impulse toward the “supernormal” that lies at the heart of all religious traditions. But as Kripal points out, these new sci-fi mythologies are distinct from the traditions in that they are oriented to

Mind, body, environment

Bruce Lipton, on epigenetics.

Two recommended books

This is Dr. Larry Dossey's new book on premonitions, ranging from anecdotes to scientific evidence to possible meaning and value. Written in Dossey's crystal clear style, and saturated with endnotes and references, this is an excellent overview of what we currently know about the mind-bending experience of knowing the future before it arrives. I advise caution when thinking about retrocausation, because if you try to figure it out it will make your brain hurt. Fortunately, this book goes a long way towards relieving that particular pain. About 30 years ago, when I first became seriously interested in parapsychology, Charles Tart was one of a handful of scientists I approached who provided me with some encouragement. Most of my other colleagues and elders at the time suggested it would be better to do something else. Anything else. But Charley's approach to parapsychology, the clever experiments he conducted, and the way he framed the broader context of this topic (which evo

IONS 2009 Conference

Institute of Noetic Sciences conference, June 17-21, Tucson, Arizona This is IONS' biennial conference. I will be giving a presentation on advances in psi research, including preliminary results of my recent experiments involving the effects of consciousness on a double-slit optical system, a workshop with Dr. Julie Beischel on the evidence for survival of bodily death, which is planned to include a demonstration session with a research medium , and an evening experiment in collective awareness and intuition.

Superstitions of modern science

Two examples of unquestioned adherence to the 17th century mechanistic assumptions underlying the supposedly modern brain sciences. From Time magazine, " why we're superstitious ," in which superstitions are reduced entirely to quirks of brain functioning. And from Newsweek , more on the same , both referring to a book entitled Supersense. My problem with such efforts is not with the neuroscience, which is undeniably interesting. Rather, I'm worried that the authors of these books, and the journalists who write the articles, haven't bothered to do their homework. For example, the author of Supersense says in response to the question, "What are some examples of things that people believe science will one day explain?" Telepathy, precognition, anything that involves the mind. Typically they will think that humans have this untapped potential for connecting with each other over large distances, which would violate the current laws of physics as we curre

Remote viewing as applied to futures studies

Article by James H. Lee, published in Technological Forecasting & Social Change , vol 75 (2008) 142–153. Abstract Remote viewing is set of related protocols that allow a viewer to intuitively gather information regarding a specific target that is hidden from physical view and separated from the viewer by either time or distance. Research suggests that the same processes used to gather spatially non-local information can also be used to gather information that is temporally removed from the observer. This paper reviews the most common protocols for remote viewing — including Coordinate Remote Viewing (CRV), Associative Remote Viewing (ARV), and Extended Remote Viewing (ERV). This remains a controversial field of study. While over 30 years of data has been gathered with statistically significant results frequently occurring under laboratory conditions, skeptics are not convinced that RV is a useful pursuit. In addition to this, some of the output from RV can be vague and subject to p

More from the Huffington Post

Why What Frightens 'Skeptics' Frightened Einstein by Philip Slater "I'm fascinated by the fanatical zeal with which self-styled skeptics pounce on non-ordinary events and try to discount them--largely by the liberal use of words like 'preposterous'. Posing as 'scientific', these ideologues are clinging to a materialism long since discredited by quantum physics..."

Huffington Post article

An article entitled "The Science of Distant Healing" by Harvard psychiatrist Srinivasan Pillay appeared in the Huffington Post blog on March 24. It mentioned an experiment my colleagues and I published a few years ago where we tested whether one person's healing intentions influenced a distant person's physiology. You can find the abstract of this article by clicking here . Some of the comments after the article positively seethe with anger. I've always been fascinated by such apoplectic outbursts, not just because they are sparked by mere ideas , in this case the idea that our minds may have unrecognized abilities, but also because they are shouted to exhaustion by people who probably regard themselves as rational. It's always tempting to respond to such comments, but I've found that doing so is just a waste of time. Meaningful dialog cannot occur if one side is overwhelmed by strong emotion. My primary reaction now is compassion for those who feel so th

Shrinkrap Podcast

Here's an interview I did for Shrink Rap Radio , with Dr. David Van Nuys, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Sonoma State University.

Journal of Scientific Exploration online

Downloadable pdfs of many of the articles that have appeared in the Journal of Scientific Exploration are now available from the society's new website . The articles can be found here .

Randi Backs Out of Challenge with Homeopath George Vithoulkas

"A long tussle concerning the validity of Homeopathy between the world`s most famous homeopath and probably the world`s most well known `quackbuster` appears to have come to head in December 2008 after 5 years of to-ing and fro-ing...." Click here to read the full article. Much more detail about this issue from Vithoulkas.

Matching Funds Drive for Macro PK Research

The Parapsychological Association , one of the 262 affiliated societies of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), recently received a generous donation from Mrs. Marion Roller to establish a new endowment for research. The Gilbert Roller Fund supports scientific investigations into macroscopic psychokinetic phenomena such as those reported in sitter-groups, séances, and poltergeist activity, and/or theoretical approaches to help explain the nature of such large-scale physical effects. Between now and May 1, 2009, Mrs. Roller will match, dollar for dollar, any donations made to the Gilbert Roller Fund to support this important line of research. Traditionally most of the modest support for parapsychological research has come from individuals and foundations with the vision and courage needed to support science on the cutting edge. Your contributions will enable qualified researchers with professional knowledge of past investigations of this type to continue to e

One year later

A little over a year after my presentation at Google, it has become the #1 most discussed talk out of the 1,031 talks given there so far. I'm pleased with this because one of the main reasons I do these public talks and participate in so many interviews is to promote dialog. This talk was partially about the taboo of psi, which refers to the perennially strong public interest in psi (as reflected by the rating of this talk), as compared to the resounding silence about psi within the academic world.

The science behind psychic phenomena

A surprisingly neutral article about psi in Time magazine. Surprising because Time has traditionally felt it necessary to psi-bash whenever possible. It cites Diane Powell's new book, The ESP Enigma , which I think is pretty good.

Parapsychological Association 2009 conference

See the call for papers . And see the conference venue here ( University of Washington in Seattle). Thursday Aug 6, 2009 - Sunday Aug 9, 2009

Psi Research Studentship for EU Nationals

Research Degree Studentship £8,125.00 per annum plus tuition fees for 3 years (including £1,000 research expenses p.a.) The University of Northampton invites applications for a three-year part-time (.65) PhD studentship to support a research project investigating the role of lability in performance at a computer-based micro-psychokinesis task . The successful applicant will be based in the Centre for the Study of Anomalous Psychological Processes (CSAPP), an institutionally recognised Research Centre within The University of Northampton. Supervisory support and research training shall be provided by staff from CSAPP and the School of Social Science within the University. The bursary is part of a project led by Dr Chris Roe and funded by the Fundação Bial, Portugal, and will involve • survey work to develop and psychometrically evaluate a new questionnaire-based measure of lability; • a series of three experimental studies to assess the relationship between lability and performance at a

Rhine Center

The Rhine Research Center website has a nice new look, and their latest newsletter provides a good overview of their current activities.

Lecture on the Global Consciousness Project

This is an excellent introduction to the Global Consciousness Project by physicist Peter Bancel. It's part of a 5-part series of videos.

Collective consciousness and the inauguration

This is a plot of odds against chance for data from the Global Consciousness Project on the evening before and day of the Obama inauguration. The red arrow points to the moment when the oath of office was being recited. This is an exploratory analysis, so it shouldn't be regarded as persuasive as a preplanned analysis would be. But still, the coincidence in time between what was arguably the single most anticipated moment by hundreds of millions of viewers during the inauguration, and the spike in odds at the same time, is quite striking. Further analyses of this event will eventually be posted at the GCP site.

The Enduring Enigma of the UFO

Here's a pdf copy of my article on UFOs as published in the current IONS Shift magazine. "Despite significant evidence that something unusual has been going on in the skies above planet Earth, serious investigation remains taboo. The result: far more questions than answers. Like psi phenomena, the topic of UFOs provides a litmus test for what we think we know — or want to."

Quantum biology

Nice article on the Discover website on quantum biology. This article even mentions a possible quantum-consciousness link without smirking. In Entangled Minds I discussed why I believe the writing is on the wall: The more we look, the more we'll find quantum effects in biology. And not just minor hiccups, but fundamental processes that, without quantum connections, would not exist at all. Some time later we'll find these effects operating in the nervous system, and later in the brain. At that point psi will graduate from the fringe to the mainstream, and then all those strange phenomena studied for over a century, but poorly understood, will be accepted and regarded as being just slightly ahead of their time.

Water crystal replication study

Radin, D., Lund, N., Emoto, M., Kizu, T. (2008). Effects of distant intention on water crystal formation: A triple-blind replication. Journal of Scientific Exploration , 22(4), 481-493. An experiment tested the hypothesis that water exposed to distant intentions affects the aesthetic rating of ice crystals formed from that water. Over three days, 1,900 people in Austria and Germany focused their intentions towards water samples located inside an electromagnetically shielded room in California. Water samples located near the target water, but unknown to the people providing intentions, acted as "proximal" controls. Other samples located outside the shielded room acted as distant controls. Ice drops formed from samples of water in the different treatment conditions were photographed by a technician, each image was assessed for aesthetic beauty by over 2,500 independent judges, and the resulting data were analyzed, all by individuals blind with respect to the underlying treatme

Thinking about telepathy

I wrote an article a few years ago for a journal published by the Royal Institute of Philosophy called Think. Someone reposted that article here . From the description of this journal: " Think is edited by Stephen Law and published three times each year. The central aim of Think is to provide to a very wide audience – including schools, colleges and the general public – highly accessible and engaging writing by philosophers pre-eminent in their fields." (I'm not a philosopher, but the publisher was kind enough to invite me to write an article, so I did.)