Showing posts from 2014

Frontiers of Consciousness meeting at the National Academy of Sciences

In March 2014, I helped to design and participated in a two day workshop called  the Frontiers of Consciousness , held at the Beckman Center at the University of California, Irvine, the West Coast center for the US National Academy of Sciences. The meeting is described in a pdf in this link .  From that report (lightly edited): Innumerable anecdotal reports found in all cultures since the dawn of history suggest that the mind occasionally has access to information that transcends the ordinary senses. Examples of these "extended mind" (EM) phenomena include perceiving future events or spontaneously knowing a distant person’s emotions or intentions. Investigations of such experiences began with the very origins of scientific inquiry, and the experiences themselves continue to be reported today by individuals at all levels of educational achievement.   Notable scientific pioneers including Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, and William James, to contemporary Nobel Laureates an

Sometimes it takes a comedian to state the obvious

From Wikiquote  (affiliated with Wikipedia, but a bit more difficult to seriously distort). By comedian John Oliver: "The world's become so horrifying now. It's too easy to become cynical about things and that's not fair and it doesn't work. And in fact, there is hope for the world. And it is in the form of Wikipedia. Now Wikipedia will save us all. I found this out when recently a friend of mine emailed me and he said that someone had created a Wikipedia entry about me. I didn't realize this was true, so I looked it up. And like most Wikipedia entries, it came with some flamboyant surprises, not least amongst them my name. Because in it it said my name was John Cornelius Oliver. Now my middle name is not Cornelius because I did not die in 1752. But obviously, I wanted to be. Cornelius is an incredible name. And that's when it hit me --the way the world is now, fiction has become more attractive than fact. That is why Wikipedia is such a v

Is the mind/body a machine?

From iai tv A discussion with Rupert Sheldrake, Colin Blakemore, and Joanna Kavenna. Watch more videos on

Levitation in Paris

I was in Paris the beginning of April, giving a talk at the Sorbonne for the launch of the French translation of my book,  Supernormal . While walking about and enjoying the city on the way to the Arc De Triomphe, I passed a levitating man. This was a nice synchronicity given the topic of my book, which just won the 2014 Silver Naulitus Book Award . This is a major book award " for exceptional literary contributions to spiritual growth, conscious living, high-level wellness, green values, responsible leadership and positive social change as well as to the worlds of art, creativity and inspirational reading for children, teens and young adults ."   How is the man levitating? It's an impressive trick, even when you know how it works.

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

No one pays any attention

Do scientists pay attention to psi research? Some skeptics would have you believe that this topic is so far from the mainstream that no one takes it seriously. What do article impact metrics indicate? For the article  Predictive physiological anticipation preceding seemingly unpredictable stimuli: A meta-analysis , which examines experiments studying what I've called "presentiment,"  Altmetric reports that this is "one of the highest ever scores" in the journal Frontiers in Psychology  (ranked #3 of 1,714 articles). The average v iew of a journal article is typically a few hundred, and that's for a very popular paper. This paper has 47,765 views so far.  For the article  Predicting the unpredictable: Critical analysis and practical implications of predictive anticipatory activity , Altmetric reports that this article "is amongst the highest ever scored" in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience,  with 10,584 views. For the article  A call for an op

Now it becomes clear

As I've previously mentioned , Wikipedia has a problem with topics that fall outside a tightly constrained, naive view of reality. That there are different opinions about such topics as homeopathy, parapsychology, or energy medicine, is not surprising. But it is disappointing (and on the verge of abetting libel when it comes to biographies of living persons) when an otherwise useful encyclopedia maintains a policy of presenting such topics with a systematic negative bias. Attempts to edit these articles to provide more balance are summarily ignored, and even neutral, well-intentioned editors have been banned. Articles with citations only from unreliable, uninformed, or cynical sources might be useful for promoting favored ideologies, but only in an Orwellian world could such an encyclopedia be considered anything but a work of fiction. Indeed, this very blog was labeled an "unreliable source" when I've simply pointed out an easily demonstrable  mathematical fact .

Psychophysical interactions with a double-slit interference pattern

Dean Radin,   Leena Michel,   James Johnston,  and  Arnaud Delorme (2013).  Psychophysical interactions with a double-slit interference pattern.  Physics Essays , Volume 26: p. 553-566 This is the third publication describing our ongoing research program on mind-matter interactions. This line of research focuses on experimentally testing John von Neumann's (and others) interpretation of the quantum measurement problem (QMP). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has a good description of the QMP. So far we've conducted 15 experiments and have reported the results of 10 of them. Overall the evidence is consistent with von Neumann's proposal that consciousness is involved in the behavior of quantum systems. Note that consistency doesn't necessarily mean that von Neumann's approach is the only valid interpretation.   Abstract Previously reported experiments suggested that interference patterns generated by a double-slit optical system were perturbed by a psy

Was Buddha just a nice guy?

This is a talk I gave at the Science and Nonduality Conference in 2013. It's a shortened version of a presentation I've given a number of times about my latest book, Supernormal .

"Predicting the unpredictable" in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

I conducted my first presentiment experiment in 1996. As of today this type of experiment has been repeated something like 40 times by a dozen labs. In this article, Julia Mossbridge, Patrizio Tressoldi, Jessica Utts, John Ives, Wayne Jonas and I discuss implications and  potential   applications of this phenomenon. The meta-analysis mentioned in this article considers only a clearly defined subset of the published studies.  Predicting the unpredictable: Critical analysis and practical implications of predictive anticipatory activity  A recent meta-analysis of experiments from seven independent laboratories (n=26) published since 1978 indicates that the human body can apparently detect randomly delivered stimuli occurring 1-10 seconds in the future. The key observation in these studies is that human physiology appears to be able to distinguish between unpredictable dichotomous future stimuli, such as emotional vs. neutral images or sound vs. silence. This phenomenon has been

Facts are not allowed in Wikipedia

In Wikipedia (as of February 28, 2014), the entry on psychic Eileen Garrett includes the following: Garrett took part in "clairvoyance" tests. One of the tests was organised by Joseph Rhine at Duke University in 1933 which involved cards with certain symbols that were placed in a sealed envelope and participants were asked to guess their contents. Garrett scored 2,433 correct hits in 10,900 cards .  She performed poorly and later criticised the tests by claiming that the cards lacked a psychic energy called "energy stimulus" and that she could not perform clairvoyance to order. J. B. Rhine's ESP experiments involved the use of card decks with 5 symbols, so the probability of a correct guess was 1 in 5 or 0.2. That means with 10,900 cards guessed the chance expected number of correct guesses was 2,180. The exact cumulative binomial probability of Garrett's 2,433 hits out of 10,900 guesses in a standard ESP card test is associated with a probability of p

Popular science media and ESP

The popular science media often gets things wrong about psi research. But today I saw a news post that establishes a new threshold for journalistic nonsense. In its "Weird" news section,  National Geographics ' website carried an article entitled "ESP Is Put to the Test—Can You Foretell the Results? It's just hokum, say researchers, who offer a new experiment as proof." The news post goes on to report that a study published January 13 in PLOS ONE , an online peer-reviewed journal, provides this proof in an experiment described as:"Can people use ESP to figure out what's on the face of a card?" Seriously? In fact the paper doesn't mention ESP, the reported study wasn't a test of ESP, and the references in the article don't cite any articles that are even tangentially relevant to ESP. It had nothing whatsoever to do with ESP. So what was the source of this silly mistake, blaring proof of ESP as "hokum"?  The ma

Call for an open, informed study of all aspects of consciousness

This opinion article, in a mainstream journal, is signed by academics hailing from Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Duke, Cornell, University of California, University of Washington, University of Colorado, Rice University, Penn State College of Medicine, University of San Francisco, University of Sao Paulo, Universit√† di Padova, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, University of Adelaide, University of Lisbon, University of Munich, Granada University, University of London, Edinburgh University, University of Tolouse, Lund University, etc.. " ... we would like to stress the following: 1) Research on parapsychological phenomena (psi) is being carried out in various accredited universities and research centers throughout the world by academics in different disciplines trained in the scientific method (e.g., circa 80 Ph.D.s have been awarded in psi-related topics in the UK in recent years). This research has continued for over a century despite the taboo against investigating

Chinese translation of The Conscious Universe

My book  The Conscious Universe was just published in Chinese.  With this latest publication  The Conscious Universe ,  Entangled Minds  and  Supernormal have collectively been translated into Chinese, French,  Portuguese,   Italian,  Russian,   Korean, Japanese, Turkish and Arabic, with (I've heard) German,  Finnish, Czech, Greek, and  Bulgarian possibly  in the works .