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« Why Brian Josephson Embraced ESP | Main | The AAAS and Spoonbending »



The End of Psi-ence

One last blast at psi:

Paranormal phenomena can be explained in three ways. One explanation views these phenomena as miracles, divine overrides of nature’s laws. According to this view, God grants psychic powers to certain special people, who can part seas, change water into wine, see the future, heal the sick, even resurrect the dead. Even disregarding the lack of empirical evidence, I find this explanation—which rests on the assumption that God plays favorites—philosophically and theologically repugnant.

The second, slightly more palatable explanation—espoused by the Rhine Center and other psi strongholds—holds that telekinesis, clairvoyance, and psychic healing are natural phenomena that will some day be explainable by still-undiscovered laws of nature, possibly related to quantum mechanics. We all have psychic powers; some of us are just better than others at exercising these potentialities. In the future science may help more of us learn to exploit our latent psychic capacity. The problem with this explanation—as I said in “Who Believes in ESP?”—is that psi has never been convincingly demonstrated in the laboratory.

That third and obviously correct explanation is that psi stems from our innate compulsion for extracting meaningful patterns from the chaos of the world. This compulsion can help us discover genuine cause-and-effect relationships—embodied, for example, in the laws of physics—as well as spurious ones, which lead to belief in paranormal phenomena.

The British psychologist Susan Blackmore—mentioned by a respondent to “Who Believes in ESP?”—has done studies of psi-believers, called sheep, and non-believers, called goats. She found that sheep detect patterns in random, Rorschach-type images more readily than goats. Sheep are also more prone to misjudge probabilities. If someone flips a coin and it comes up heads five times in a row, the odds that the next flip will also come up heads are still fifty percent. Sheep tend to underestimate or overestimate the odds because they assume that the previous tosses somehow influence the next one. Similarly, when asked to generate a string of random digits, sheep are more likely to avoid repeating digits or putting two consecutive digits together, when chance dictates that these coincidences should occur quite often; conversely, if given a string of random numbers, sheep overestimate the significance of repetitions.

The categories “sheep” and “goat” are not immutable. As she notes in a wonderful essay on her website, Blackmore herself was a sheep, but rational inquiry and an insistence on evidence transformed her into a goat. If only more people were persuaded by reason!

Comments

Andrei Kirilyuk

On the other hand, it's a fact that neither "sheep", nor "goat", nor Susan Blackmore in any of her conveniently varying states (each time she and others don't forget to gain all the money from it, irrespective of the absent "truth") can provide at least a generally consistent picture of the nature and detailed emergence of intelligence and consciousness (and actually any other truly "complex" feature of living systems). So "something" non-mechanical and thus de facto "paranormal" (in terms of existing knowledge) IS there. Of course, here I use "paranormal" in a broader sense of "unsolved mystery" and "intriguing phenomenon", but while such "mysteries" persist "infinitely", who can judge "objectively" what they can actually hide? By contrast, one can be OBJECTIVELY SURE that they do hide SOMETHING very much different from currently available knowledge (as it is completely helpless in solving those problems). [See also my previous comment "Looking for a Miracle" at http://discovermagazine.typepad.com/horganism/2006/10/why_brian_josep.html#comment-24114435 ] What remains is to find out what it is exactly: fruitless games of traditional psi-ence are certainly finished (including its "paranormal" deviations), but the tasks for superior, efficient kind of knowledge are clear. Maybe we need another kind of animal to start it?

Jonathan Jones

There is no true rational explanation for anything. Electrons are attracted to protons... because they are. Matter goes from greater pressure to less pressure... because it does.
In the end, although we can manipulate observable reactions in the universe and even use the repeatable occurrences to deduce other probable reactions, everything is inexplicable and "paranormal" when broken down to its most basic parts. So, take it easy on the sheep when they (I should say we) appear to be irrational. That is not the case. We simply take every new scientific fact and law with a grain of salt, because we realize that there are no true laws or facts. If you travel far enough in the universe you will realize that even our most sacred laws of physics become useless remnants when confronted by unknowns like dark matter, dark energy, and all the rest of it...

nc

"That third and obviously correct explanation is that psi stems from our innate compulsion for extracting meaningful patterns from the chaos of the world. This compulsion can help us discover genuine cause-and-effect relationships - embodied, for example, in the laws of physics — as well as spurious ones, which lead to belief in paranormal phenomena."

- John Horgan

Yes it is vital to filter out crackpotism (ie, speculative beliefs that have no relevance for science) from scientific publications, which Newton was superb at. On the mysticism of Sir Isaac Newton's laws of nature, R.S. Westfall (author of the major Newton biography, "Never at rest" published by Cambridge University Press in 1980):

"The forces of attraction and repulsion between particles of matter, including gravitational attraction ... were primarily the offspring of alchemical active principles."

- R.S. Westfall, "The Role of Alchemy in Newton's Career", pp 189-232 of B. Righini and W.R. Shea (eds.), "Reason Experiment and Mysticism in the Scientific Revolution", Science History Publications, New York, 1975.

Now Newton wrote more nonsense on alchemy than on physics it seems, 650,000 words of manuscripts like "Alchemical writers" (a list of 113 alchemists and their stuff), "De Scriptoribus" (a bibliography of 80 alchemical books", and Newton's own experiments are described in his unpublished manuscripts "Alchemical propositions", "Clavis", "Praxis", "Vegetation of Metals", and the weird "Essay on the Preparation of Star Reguluses".

Newton chose the term "force" from the love/hate alchemical theory of magnetism. After his alchemical experiment of Feb 1696, Newton wrote in "Praxis" that he had discovered the "philosopher's stone" and had created mercury out of nothing, "multiplying" metallic mercury by a factor of four just by using ammonium chloride! He was a real crackpot!

See also B.J.T. Dobbs, "The Foundations of Newton's Alchemy", C.U.P., 1975, and K. Figala, "Newton as Alchemist", in History of Science, v15, 1977, pp 102-37.

On line info: http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=Newton+alchemy&meta=

I'd say that people are welcome to pursue ESP at their own expense in their own garden sheds, along with religion, if they so choose to do that. What is wrong about it is the brainwashing of others, the bigotry toward others, and the money-making political angle to this.

Jonathan Jones: you are wrong! Learn about the Yang-Mills quantum field theory, it is based on symmetries in physical law and predicts forces are the result of exchange radiation (although it doesn't give detailed dynamics, like GR it is an equation based on a clever conservation principle accounting scheme, but it provides strong evidence which is the basis of the well tested although incomplete Standard Model of particle physics). For a summary of the argument for a Yang-Mills quantum causality, with Professor Clifford Johnson's kind response below, see:

http://asymptotia.com/2006/10/16/not-in-tower-records/#comment-2182

Jeff

Eh, both sheep and goats bleat.

Roy Waidler

First, thank you for inviting me to your blog.
I am anything but a scientist but I am quite aware that any experiment performed "here" by A ought to be duplicable by B "over there." I begin with this because I question what constitutes successful psi experiments in an objective sense. I have a suspicion that as there are as many superstitious psi-believers (Blackmore's sheep)who will too readily believe anything as there are as many superstitious skeptics (Blackmore's goats) who find no evidence to be enough evidence. I make no bones about having experienced several forms of psi, some of which I am sure would provoke eyerolling on the part of those who have their doubts. This makes me a sheep. I think.
Still, I have my doubts about much of what I read in books and online when it comes to the paranormal. I have difficulties galore in finding that the good folks from the Pleiades - or is it Arcturus? - are guiding us into the next Golden Age. I am a channeler, yet I have a number of problems with the claims of some channelers (who no doubt would have problems with mine). One of the perennial problems I see is that people like myself are getting info from Akhenaton, Jesus, and a host of Himalayan Adepts. Here's why, if you would bear with me: a channeler (me, for example) claims to receive information from invisible folks. I ask you to assume with me for the moment that when people die that they do indeed continue in some invisible, ethereal form; and I ask further to assume for this moment that contact between the dead and a channeler (the modern word for 'medium, BTW)is occuring.
Now, by my little model here, there are billions of dead farmers, sailors, merchants, teachers and Just Plain Folks "out there" yet the consistent reports are coming from the ascended folks on Pluto - among who are Jesus, Zoroaster......and why do they all have an homogenous message?
I feel that the lines are too strongly drawn between the sheep and the goats, there are credulous goats and analytical sheep, and perhaps some middle ground could be made in which to discuss psi matters - a simple experiment, the parameters of which would be suitable to both sides. The real problem as I see it is that we sheep will keep on agreeing with each other in stronger and stronger terms, and the goats will do the same; should we try to talk with one another we will be convinced the other person is a foreigner and that the best way to convey what we are saying is to yell at them.
I would also like to comment that I have a suspicion that Blackmore's sheep and goats use language differently, most radically different, but that is another comment and another time!
John, I enjoy your writing and thank you once again for asking me here.

Hal

Andrei:

Supposed paranormal phenomena have never been of much interest to me, but you are making some sense.

Penrose concludes that some new physical theory is required to explain consciousness, but I think that it will never be completely explained. Stephen Hawking now thinks that a theory of everything is impossible:

http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/strings02/dirac/hawking/

Kell Burright

The problem with this explanation—as I said in “Who Believes in ESP?”—is that psi has never been convincingly demonstrated in the laboratory.

I think the key-word here is "convincingly". Those who have a strong skeptical nature would, by definition, be more difficult to "convince" than one without this type of personality. That is not to say that just because one desires more physical evidence to support any given claim, that the experiment shouldn't be able to accomodate them. However, what I am saying, is that any hardcore skeptic will find something wrong with anything just as often as someone who blindly subscribes to whatever is put in front of them, would accept fantastical claims. If we don't know exactly how something works, why is it such a stretch to inlcude a possible explanation that involves things that science has yet to discover? Especially with the recent advances in quantum mechanics. If you were to say to the earliest physicists, some of the things that we now know as truth regarding quantum physics, they would have laughed hysterically. For someone like myself, who is by definition, a sheep, it is deeply saddening to see such a wall between what we know, and what we are trying to explain. It is also maddening to see how the stereotype of the Know-it-all physicist who laughs at any attempt to validate something considered to be out of the realm of possibility, may in fact be true.

J. S. Johnson

Horgan: “Paranormal phenomena can be explained in three ways. . . That third and obviously correct explanation is that psi stems from our innate compulsion for extracting meaningful patterns from the chaos of the world. This compulsion can help us discover genuine cause-and-effect relationships—embodied, for example, in the laws of physics—as well as spurious ones, which lead to belief in paranormal phenomena.”

Right on. As a refinement to the above, however, a distinction should be added. On one hand there is the effort of the modern subjective conscious mind (SCM), i.e. the conscious analysis of left hemisphere categories of experience. On the other hand there remains the primordial right-hemisphere abstractive faculty that sustained the subject animal in its learning of survivable choices before its primitive level was submerged underneath uniquely human language and symbols and the elaborate and busy world of countless concepts and their analysis. The point made is that modern SCM is no older than the dawn of history, a mere moment ago on the scale of evolving neural faculties. In other words, the subconscious primitive abstractive faculty has not dried up and gone away. Not only has it always mediated choices such as fight or flight, but now may mediate especially those deeper indefinite stresses related to experience, uneasiness that seems without definition or resolution.

The Eureka experience comes to mind. We are always witness to the rise of water level when we climb into the tub, but unless we have noted the effect and identified it as the concept of displacement, it may not occur to us later as a way to measure the volume of an irregular object. Later on, having pondered such a task without an answer, the answer may suddenly come to us “out of the blue,” even when we are not thinking about the problem. Similarly, the earliest period of (Western) human history(1) seems marked by unprecedented growth of populations resulting in the great migrations and slaughters related to conflicts of competing god-systems, and the resulting rise of SCM, with its new and novel question: “How shall competing populations of our species survive?” Significantly, it also marked the period of emergent monotheistic religions. As different as they were, being products of different cultures, the one bit of “divine revelation” common to all such “revealed knowledge” events was the Golden Rule. I argue that divine revelations were essentially Eureka experiences. The unconscious abstractive faculty drew the answer from felt but unarticulated lessons of individuals’ experience. The Golden Rule, being common to virtually all such “divine visions,” would have significant statistical validity if there were a “science of species survival.” Consider the problem of conflicted subjective perspectives addressed by physics, i.e. the problem of relativity and its symmetry solution: “all laws must look the same from every perspective.” This sounds much like “Equality under the law,” and the Golden Rule.

There is no need to assign such insight to the supernatural, when our best science cannot even account for the simplest observation if all: the boundless creativity, the indefinite evolution of system complexity (IESC) of cosmos, taken as a whole. If cosmos is a closed system, the second law of thermodynamics makes impossible the IESC. If cosmos is not a closed system, how can there be an objective TOE?

Gödel’s second incompleteness theorem identifies the problem, while abstraction theory identifies the solution:

(Wikipedia on Gödel): “If an axiomatic system can be proven to be consistent and complete from within itself, then it is inconsistent.”
“Therefore, in order to establish the consistency of a system S, one needs to utilize some other more powerful system T, but a proof in T is not completely convincing unless T's consistency has already been established without using S. “

Formalisms of chemistry S are consistent but cannot be complete without reference to underlying formalisms of physics T that sustains them. In the same way, physics T cannot be both consistent and complete without reference to U, V, etc. etc.

For example, formalisms of QM based on geometric time (spacetime) nowhere recognize the “present moment effect,” the moment between an historic past and an indefinite future into which choice might intrude, while empirical QM experiment shows that choice is indeed efficacious. Thus, while QM is consistent within the realm of geometric experience, it is incomplete because it cannot account for the observed creativity either of cosmos or of its creative agent.

Abstraction theory describes the larger structure of natural order implied by Gödel. It asserts that no definable assumption such as geometric time can be fundamental. The next step is to model time not as geometry but as process. This is the new process physics(2), which models the pre-geometric substratum as an evolution of self-organizing, self-referential fractal patterning of semantic information in which no objects or even laws are assumed. The fractal feature is reflected in surprising (observed) cosmic scale effects as well as relating the Golden Rule, the stability of civil order through “Equality under the law,” and the very subjective “relativity problem” mentioned earlier.

My own observation is that any process including cosmic process has three attributes to be addressed as a coherent whole: imperative, direction, and means, each of which has components both objective and subjective, so that process physics effectively opens the door to the subjectivity of creative choice in which the subject is nothing less than the creative agency of the cosmic process imperative (CPI).

In other words, as tentative as the wisdom of “revealed knowledge” may be in any one Eureka experience, statistically it reveals true values essential to sustaining the IESC relevant to the then level of experience of the subject – which is what counts for any science of species survival. Therefore, as the very observable boundless creativity of natural order and its creative agent remains unexplained, who needs anything supernatural? Abstraction theory implies that Nature is already mysterious enough. Species survival rests along the path of the larger, more inclusive ideas of U, V, W, etc. Where did I get all of this? From “Eureka!” where else? Well, just abstraction theory. The rest just sort of fit together.

Refs:
1. Jaynes, Julian, (1977) “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind,” Houghton Mifflin, Boston.

2. Cahill, R. T. (2005) “Process Physics: From Information Theory to Quantum Space and Matter,” Nova Science Publishers.
Also: http://www.mountainman.com.au/process_physics/index_of_papers.htm

de

Re: Consciousness

Why is some new theory, or, for that matter, any theory at all, required to explain "Consciousness"?

Consciousness is simply our inward world of thought, and the images created by the mechanical act of our thinking. There isn't any difference between the conscious and the unconscious--it all flows together and is a result of our thinking and image making.

The problem is that each of us has created a mental image of a "me," a psychological "I," and we think this "I" is the controller of all of our other thoughts. This is an illusion. The psychological "I" is just another thought.

Is this psychological "I" necessary for us to lead a civilized, rational human life? I don't think so. We have a physical body, a brain, and a mind which is the synergistc effect of our being. We can get along very well with these. As a matter of fact, the illusionary psychological "I" is the source of most of the mischief in the world.

Andrei Kirilyuk

The End of MECHANISTIC Psi-ence

Summarising the emerging state of psi-ence and its relations to “usual” science, it would be most correct to say that what is ending now (as described in John Horgan's books, posts here, and our comments) is but a CERTAIN, very SPECIAL, mechanically SIMPLIFIED idea, or expectation, about possible existence and properties of entities beyond “usual”, material world. It is the MECHANISTIC psi-ence and approach to “paranormal” that is definitely falling now together, by the way, with the SAME kind of mechanistic vision of all “normal”, material-world phenomena in OFFICIAL SCIENCE doctrine. Despite all their external “oppositions” and “fight”, those two branches of mechanistic knowledge and way of thinking, “paranormal psi-ence” and “normal science”, are integral parts of one and the same, strongly simplified, and THEREFORE incomplete and broken, kind of knowledge. It's enough to have a critical look at all those “traditional” parascientific hopes to see how mechanistic, over-simplified they actually are: it is, of course, some mechanical “tie” similar to an “invisible thread” that should move objects by “mental force” (telekinesis), or it is some hidden “telegraphic/radio” connection that should transmit thoughts from one person to another (telepathy), or it is some “death rays” (“paranormal laser”) in a fraudulent “military” application, etc. It is obvious “bullshit science” not because it deals with something usually imperceptible (many quite real physical fields and rays are also usually “hidden”), but because ... that would be too easy, baby! Things not taken into account by official science can well not only be present “everywhere”, but actually dominate various observed phenomena, but the point is that they would “enter into reality” in a much more complicated, “delicate”, not so straightforward way, for example, as initially minor, “point-like”, but strongly amplified dynamic effects (recall catalysis!), rather than major, mechanically added, “anti-Occamian” and “magic” entities (fields, particles, “rays”, etc.). [Recall also NON-MAGIC “dark matter/energy” or “hidden dimensions” of “objective” official science: isn't it EXACTLY THE SAME kind of bullshit as that of any most esoteric “astrology”, but now strongly supported by unaware taxpayers' resources?!]

This picture becomes even more transparent when one SPECIFIES the intrinsic deficiency of that WHOLE canonical knowledge kind in a scientifically consistent, mathematically rigorous form. Namely, it appears that the conventional, “mechanistic” knowledge approach (in ANY its branch, even in theology!) provides the MAXIMUM POSSIBLE simplification of reality by replacing the (huge) MULTITUDE of really existing, dynamically connected (and therefore permanently changing) versions of any system configuration by its SINGLE (actually incorrectly “averaged”) “exact”, or “closed”, version (see e.g. http://arXiv.org/abs/physics/9806002 and other related papers). The extended vision, taking into account ALL system versions (or “realisations”), i.e. the COMPLETE result of underlying interactions, does provably, explicitly solves all major “mysteries” of canonical science, from fundamental physics (now totally and explicitly unified) to the origin of intelligence and consciousness (see http://arxiv.org/find/quant-ph,gr-qc,physics/1/au:+Kirilyuk/0/1/0/all/0/1 ), and that is the SCIENTIFICALLY RIGOROUS answer to the justified scepticism about scholar science possibilities in this blog comments. It is also “simply” logical: one obtains much more possibilities in the extended approach just by taking into account that huge plurality of really existing results of real interaction processes which is scandalously and artificially NEGLECTED by scholar science manipulations for the sake of external “simplicity” (and that is the REAL meaning of its “hypotheses non fingo”!). In other words, if you're systematically throwing almost all your resources to the wind, don't complain of poverty! (It's not so easy to efficiently use even basically sufficient resources – and that is just about the content and generally nontrivial practice of unreduced, causally complete knowledge, but now it has a clearly specified perspective!) As to various “prodigious directives” of Smolin, Hawking and other hawks of official scientocracy, irrespective of details, it all looks more as blind self-preservation attempts, “despite anything”: in reality, one CANNOT get rid of the dominating doctrine limitations while remaining WITHIN that perverted doctrine! [That's exactly why the dominating Aristotelians persecuted Bruno, Copernicus, Galileo and others centuries ago: too stupid to advance!]

In reality, as one could have guessed, truly interesting science only starts after elimination of that trivial confusion of scholar trickery. And if we return now to our psi-entific “sheeps”, we can well discover a truly scientific (consistent and “objective”) way to advance beyond “usual” matter. For example, I do propose an (apparently unique) rigorous, realistic theory (and explanation) of intelligence and consciousness in terms of unreduced interaction dynamics, reproducing all their major properties (http://arXiv.org/abs/physics/0409140 ), but it is interesting that the same approach indicates, with EQUAL RIGOUR, that such property as consciousness simply could NOT appear from any natural interaction of an “animal” with its “environment”, irrespective of any detail of that interaction or environment (or evolution time needed). There SHOULD be something “UNnatural” in that story, or else one should reject practically all existing observation results (in all fields of science!)... It remains, of course, to specify what that “paranormal” influence could actually involve...

Another “objective mystery” appears when one estimates the TRUE power of conscious brain operation. Contrary to mechanistic estimates of scholar science, the power of unreduced brain (as well as genome!) interactions exceeds any “reasonable” value and attains truly “divine”, practically “infinite” proportions, such as ten to the power of ten to twelfth or fourteenth power (see the above paper). [Some reasonable “relative” units are used here, but one can safely put “bits per second”, this does not change the “terrifying” result!] It is a number where the leading unity is followed by “astronomically” large number of zeros, so that even to put it densely on paper one would need at least a million-kilometre long paper strip! Needless to say, the added power of all ultimately fast (Planckian frequency) flip-flops of all elementary particles of the whole “observable” (or even ten or billion times greater!) universe looks as complete and very round zero with respect to that huge power, which each single human brain proudly contains in its usual configuration. And now the mystery: why such “divine” power produces such mediocre result, even in best cases? It's much more surprising than a completely operative supercomputer of the most futuristic generation that can hardly reproduce the multiplication table, for an absolutely unknown and mysterious reason. A partial answer includes the above causal explanation of the “miracle” of consciousness (and life): the miraculous brain (genome) power produces precisely THAT miraculous result (“quantity into quality”), but then it shows that (typical) modern humans (including scientists!) are really (and again inexplicably!) close to ZERO level of their consciousness possibilities... And then the most interesting point emerges: if now we “turn on” that full, REAL brain power, then maybe all “telekinesis” stuff, whether real or not, will look not more advanced than some microbial feelings do with respect to our highest spiritual motivations? I emphasize once again that this is NOT a subjective para-scientific “hope”, right the contrary, the rigorously derived inevitability that hopefully can give rise to quite another kind of psi-ence...

And finally I would like to add a “reassuring” note to all subjective “disbelievers” in possibility of that kind of “ultimate” unification and completeness of knowledge (from particles to consciousness and beyond!). Just look at the empirically observed, undoubtful and “realistic” structure of nature: everything is directly, physically related there (from interacting particles to atoms to molecules to substances to bodies to ...), and we know that it works! And then the choice goes like that: if our consciousness (with the above fantastic power, now causally specified) cannot embrace that natural, REALLY EXISTING wholeness (why not, by the way?), then it would imply that human intelligence itself is a kind of senseless feature, that we are just a bigger version of microbe. One may have, even increasingly, precisely that kind of impression from today's world features and history (see e.g. comments above), but then we obtain just another, yet more irrational mystery of the sense of our existence. So the point is that the preference for “unbelievably” optimistic possibility of superior, much higher level of knowledge and consciousness (with today's “paranormal”, but then USUAL properties) is logically a LESS surrealistic possibility. And because we DO have SOME consciousness (let's hope), there is no other choice: it's just such a “miraculous” epoch, to die or to plunge into complete psi-entific paradise! But the last possibility will involve a truly different, superior kind of knowledge, without any antagonistic barriers between “normal” and “paranormal”... (see references above for a working miracle example). There can be only one border in any REALISTIC knowledge, that between true and false, between known = understood (necessarily completely!) and unknown = misunderstood (= 0). Isn't it better to sacrifice vain ambitions of unfairly (self-)rewarded, explicitly decaying and destructive “intellectual elite”, than the whole future of a conscious (let's hope!) species?

nick herbert

Love your writing. I get the feeling that you're really trying to understand the world rather than grind some axes.

Concerning the existence of psi phenomena, are you aware of Dean Radin's work on "autonomic presentiment"? This is a simple and apparently quite repeatible experiment
that seems to clearly demonstrate backwards causality.

You'd think that the same physicists who got so upset about parity violation in the 50s would be even more excited about even a hint of causality violation right now but because Radin's experiment is labeled "parapsychology" (ie scientific pornography) those physicists who are even aware of it tend to dismiss Radin's results out of hand. Blinded by professional prejudice they refuse to look thru Galileo's telescope.

Actually Radin's experiment is not strictly speaking "parapsychology" since it involves no subjective responses. It is more along the lines of "paraphysiology".

John Horgan

Nick, thanks for the comment. I know Radin's work and discussed it with him at length a few years ago at the Institute for Noetic Sciences. He's smart and seems sincere, but he's claerly an advocate, and I'm not persuaded at all by his claims (obviously). I'm not familiar with "autonomic presentiment." What is it? Stress responses to events that haven't happened yet? Got a link? Remember: extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

nick herbert

Stress response to events that havedn't happened yet? Exactly that. See for instance

http://www.boundary.org/articles/timereversed.pdf

This is an early paper but the effect seems to be robust and replicable in many different variations. I don't consider myself psychic but was able to display significant AP in a 30-trial test. I asked what personality traits
correlate with strong AP effect. Radin
replied that strong responders also seem to show strong AP.

Certainly Radin is an advocate for psi but he also seems well aware of Feynman's dictum: "The important thing in science is not to fool yourself--and you're the easiest one to fool." These experiments seem to me to be very well designed, produce reproducible results and cannot be explained by any sort of physics including quantum mechanics.

I am not only shocked by Radin's results which appear to demonstrate backwards causality in certain biological systems but shocked that so few physicists (for whom causality is their business) seem to know about them.

nick herbert

One of my big objections to parapsychology research is that, unlike conventional science, it never seemed to go anywhere. It always seemed to be starting over--not building on previous results. There were plenty of spectacular individual results--with mediums, with card guessing, and with special people and circumstances that produced remarkable effects. But parapsychology always seemed to be starting from scratch.

Radin's experiment ("autonomic presentiment" or as I call it "the Radin Effect") seems to be different. It's an experiment that seems to "have legs" as they say in show biz. It was inspired
(and builds on) the Klintman Effect which is an apparent backwards in time influence on reaction time.

Radin reproduces the Klintman effect in a new context.

Next Bierman (in Holland) has taken Radin's results and extended them using MRI as sensor and also broadened the research by detecting differences between violent and erotic stimuli.

Now to me this looks like real science--one result building on another, not just isolated highly improbable events. But after looking
at the evidence you may feel differently.

I would be interested in your reaction to "the Radin Effect" once you have checked out the reports.

nick herbert

One of my big objections to parapsychology research is that, unlike conventional science, it never seemed to go anywhere. It always seemed to be starting over--not building on previous results. There were plenty of spectacular individual results--with mediums, with card guessing, and with special people and circumstances that produced remarkable effects. But parapsychology always seemed to be starting from scratch.

Radin's experiment ("autonomic presentiment" or as I call it "the Radin Effect") seems to be different. It's an experiment that seems to "have legs" as they say in show biz. It was inspired
(and builds on) the Klintman Effect which is an apparent backwards in time influence on reaction time.

Radin reproduces the Klintman effect in a new context.

Next Bierman (in Holland) has taken Radin's results and extended them using MRI as sensor and also broadened the research by detecting differences between violent and erotic stimuli.

Now to me this looks like real science--one result building on another, not just isolated highly improbable events. But after looking
at the evidence you may feel differently.

I would be interested in your reaction to "the Radin Effect" once you have checked out the reports.

The comments to this entry are closed.



   
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Going Atomic... Again
Jaron's World: The Murder of Mystery
How to Make Anything Look Like a Toy, Round II
Raw Data: The Rigorous Study of the Ancient Mariners
Will We Ever Clone a Caveman?
This Month's Ask Discover
How Life Got a Leg Up
Mammals Stake Their Place in Jurassic Park
You Say "Ook Ook," I Say "Aak Aak"
Guilt-Free Gossip for Greens
A Greener Faith
Whatever Happened To... the Exxon Valdez?
Life After Oil
The Next Katrina
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