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Certain yogis have remarkable—and proven—abilities. Why does mainstream science remain skeptical?

Posted Aug. 10, 2010 by IONS Staff in Extended Human Capacities

commented on Aug. 31, 2014
by NoetPoet

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Certain yogis have remarkable—and proven—abilities. Why does mainstream science remain skeptical?

Ancient yogic lore discusses special abilities, called siddhis, which may be attained through the disciplined practice of meditation. From a modern perspective, tales about siddhis are usually dismissed as superstitious nonsense. But when systematic science is applied, abilities once regarded as impossible, ranging from conscious control of the autonomic nervous system to perception through time, are found to be possible after all. This doesn’t mean that all yogic lore is true, but if we've overlooked even a tiny proportion of our remarkable capacities, what does this imply about the full range of human potential? And what does it imply about the way that mainstream science has marginalized or ignored such abilities?

What do you think?

  • 291 Comments  
  • NoetPoet Aug 31, 2014

    As promised I am going to go through each of the extraordinary powers or “siddhis” that are said to be attained from practicing yoga and meditation and propose scientifically plausible and testable hypotheses about how these abilities might actually work. My overarching hypothesis is that all of these abilities are made possible by:

    i) increased neuronal integration between different parts of the brain as a result of the meditative aspects of yoga (e.g. concentration, mindfulness, cultivating a sense of calm) which loosen the grip of habitually ingrained modes of neurological activity and promote the development of new neural connections;

    ii) increased integration between the nervous system, physical senses and the brain as a result of yoga exercises which demand mental concentration on unusual physical postures and encouragement of mindful receptivity to sensory information from diverse parts of the body in a relatively quiet and calm sensory environment;

    iii) increased blood flow and oxygen supply to the brain which comes from both the physical exertion of yoga as well as its emphasis on improving one’s breathing and posture; and

    iv) long-term reduction in stress levels due to a endorphin realise triggered by the physical exercises of yoga, and the discouragement of aggravating and distracting thoughts which in turn reduces the presence of cortisol (high levels of which have a detrimental effect on brain function).

    I have sourced this list of siddhis from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siddhi :

    1) tri-kāla-jñatvam: knowing the past, present and future

    Hypothesis: yoga conditions the brain to be less inclined toward the neural activity associated with ‘mental chatter’, freeing up neurons and brain regions formerly being utilised for such mental chatter to instead be utilised by the parts of the brain involved in sensory processing, concentration and abstract thinking. This enables the yogi to make deductions and inferences about how particular events have or will unfold in the past, present and future in a more efficient, seamless and integrated way which requires less deliberate conscious analysis and ‘executive’ oversight.

    2) advandvam: tolerance of heat, cold and other dualities

    Hypothesis: The increased mindfulness and sense of detached calm encouraged by yogic practice gives the yogi a capacity to dissociate their sense of self from sensations such as extreme heat or cold. Rather than responding to such sensations with the thought “I am feeling cold and I don’t like it”, the yogi’s mind responds with the thought “there is the awareness of a cold sensation”. Through increased neuronal integration and capacity for calm focus the yogi becomes better able to regulate their breathing, heartbeat, bloodflow, and muscle tension in ways which optimise the retention or diffusion of bodily heat (perhaps in a similar manner to how Tummo practitioners achieve such feats).

  • NoetPoet Aug 31, 2014

    3) para citta ādi abhijñatā: knowing the minds of others and so on

    Hypothesis: as with knowing past, present and future, neurons which were devoted to mental chatter become freed up for parts of the brain involved in registering and processing sensory information. This improves the yogi’s ability to detect subtleties in the body language, facial expressions (including fleeting “micro-expressions”), voice tone and diction of others. Yoga also increases neuronal integration between these areas and other areas of the brain (e.g. those involved in analytical and abstractive thought); increases understanding of one’s own psychological workings as a result of the cultivation of mindfulness; and leads to a greater awareness of the fact that people are basically driven by the same underlying psychological principals and mechanisms. These changes act together to produce what is commonly referred to as the “third eye” or “sixth sense”, but this is not so much a sense in its own right as it is a ‘meta-sense’ which emerges from the fluid and efficient integration of physical sense information, abstract thinking and memory.

    4) agni arka ambu viṣa ādīnām pratiṣṭambhaḥ: checking the influence of fire, sun, water, poison, and so on

    Hypothesis: Yoga promotes greater mindfulness of one’s body and one’s physical and mental reactions to physical sensations, allowing the yogi to become less psychologically caught up in unpleasant sensations. Eventually this enhanced mindfulness and the attendant enhanced integration within the brain and between the brain and the nervous system allow the yogi to better control their heart rate, blood flow, muscle movement, metabolic processes, breathing and hormone levels such that the adverse impacts of things like extreme heat, poison, extreme cold and prolonged submersion in water can be mitigated to an extent that would not be possible without yoga (or similar training).

    5) aparājayah: remaining unconquered by others

    Hypothesis: Yoga promotes greater calm and mindfulness of one’s own psychological workings, allowing one to detach from and overcome one’s psychological weaknesses and thereby become less susceptible to psychological manipulation by others. The yogi’s enhance mindfulness also allows them to dissociate from unpleasant sensations, meaning that the yogi is better able to psychologically withstand the rigors of torture and physical coercion.

  • NoetPoet Aug 31, 2014

    6) anūrmi-mattvam: Being undisturbed by hunger, thirst, and other bodily appetites

    Hypothesis: as with checking the influence of fire and sun etc, the yogi’s enhanced mindfulness gives them greater ability to disassociate from sensations of hunger, thirst and sexual desire. The yogi’s increased neuronal integration allows them to better regulate their heart rate, breathing and metabolism so as to reduce the physical effects and consequences associated with these appetites.

    7) dūra-śravaṇa: Hearing things far away

    Hypothesis: the cultivation of mindful awareness causes the brain to change so that neurons devoted to petty concerns and mental chatter becomes are freed up and become utilised by other areas of the brain, particularly those involved in sensory processing and perception. This is similar to how people who become deaf or blind experience an enhancement in their remaining senses as “neural real estate” formerly occupied by the lost sense gets taken over by their remaining senses (but for the yogi the enhancement occurs in all 5 senses). The yogi also becomes able to think more fluidly and efficiently as a result of the meditative aspects of yoga, and this increased clarity and fluidity of thought combines synergistically with their enhanced 5-sense perceptual capacities (particularly the sense of hearing) to give the yogi an ability to discern events occurring far away with impressive detail and accuracy. Moreover, the religious aspects of yoga work through power of suggestion to make the yogi more capable of a kind of ‘quasi-controlled’ audio hallucination in which information from their now-enhanced 5 senses and enhanced cognitive processing capability is integrated so as to provide an accurate representation of far away sounds.

    8) dūra-darśanam: Seeing things far away

    Hypothesis: The same as yogic ability to hear things far away, except that the mind formulates a quasi-controlled visual hallucination.

  • NoetPoet Aug 31, 2014

    9) manaḥ-javah: Moving the body wherever thought goes (teleportation/astral projection)

    Hypothesis: The yogi becomes better able to manipulate their sense of proprioception, thus giving the impression that they can have Out-of-Body Experiences at will.

    10) kāma-rūpam: Assuming any form desired

    Hypothesis: This could refer to a) Hindu religious ideas about Yoga giving a person the ability to improve their karma to the point where they can choose which form they will take in their next life, and or b) the ability to have quasi-controlled hallucinations that one is able to alter radically alter one’s physical body as desired.

    11) para-kāya praveśanam: Entering the bodies of others

    Hypothesis: This could refer to a) an ability to voluntarily generate a realistic hallucination of inhabiting the body of another by manipulating one’s own proprioception, and/or b) using the power of suggestion to convince someone (e.g. a devotee of the yogi) that the yogi’s mind has inhabited and taken control of their body, which causes the ‘possessed’ individual to subconsciously role-play in a manner consistent with possession by the yogi. Option b may also involve subtle verbal and body language cues given by the yogi before the possession to manipulate the possessed individual into thinking in ways which are consistent with the yogi’s own thinking and goals.

    12) sva-chanda mṛtyuh: Dying when one desires

    Hypothesis: The yogi’s enhanced bodily awareness and neuronal integration allows them to control critical bodily functions as described above. The yogi’s religious beliefs convince that their mind will survive the death of their body are sufficiently powerful – in large part because of the other fruits of their yoga practice – that they can overcome the powerful survival instinct and cause terminal shutdown in critical bodily functions. In effect, an advanced yogi is able to self-inflict a lethally powerful nocebo effect.

  • NoetPoet Aug 31, 2014

    13) devānām saha krīḍā anudarśanam: Witnessing and participating in the pastimes of the gods

    Hypothesis: A yogi is able to trigger a realistic quasi-controlled hallucination of being in a heavenly realm and/or in the company of divine beings. These hallucinations are largely informed by the yogi’s own religious indoctrination, similar to how Near Death Experiences tend to contain imagery and other content which is derived from an Experiencer’s cultural and religious upbringing.

    14) yathā sańkalpa saḿsiddhiḥ: Perfect accomplishment of one's determination
    15) ājñā apratihatā gatiḥ: Orders or commands being unimpeded

    Hypothesis: Because the practice of yoga involves become mindful of how one’s mind works and an emphasis on the illusory nature of the world, one is able to become more mindful of their desires and motivations and perceive them as less real. This increased mindfulness allows a person to dissociate from their existing desires and form new desires. These new desires tend to be fewer, more parsimonious, less concerned with material acquisitions, and less concerned with social status and political power. In other words, the yogi streamlines their desires so that they relate more to how they react to events rather than to the occurrence or non-occurrence of particular events. Yoga’s emphasis on cultivating holistic psycho-physical awareness and integration encourages greater neuronal integration between areas of the brain involved in decision making and those involved in regulating emotions and basic bodily process (the latter of which include the hypothalamus and the brain stem). This enhanced neuronal integration, combined with increased size and neural activity in parts of the brain involved in executive function (see below) allows the yogi to obtain far greater control over their mental and physical process than the average person, and it is with respect to these processes that the yogi’s orders and commands become “unimpeded”.

    16) Uuha: based on the samskaras of previous births, the attainment of knowledge about the twenty-four Tatwas gained by examining the determinable and the indeterminable conscious and the non-conscious constituents of creation,

    Hypothesis: This relates to the religious doctrines associated with yoga. The power of suggestion which comes from extensive religious indoctrination combines with the yogi’s ability to generate quasi-controlled hallucinations so as to give rise to very convincing hallucinations that one can perceive one’s previous births and other mysteries of creation as described in religious teachings. We should expect that the yogi’s brain will have increased size and neuronal connections within the temporal lobe and the visual cortex, and increased integration of these areas with areas of the brain involved in executive function (see below). Such neurological changes would be conducive toward making hallucinations more common and more controllable respectively.

  • NoetPoet Aug 31, 2014

    17) Shabad: knowledge gained by associating with an enlightened person (Guru – upadesh)
    18) Addhyyan: knowledge gained through study of the Vedas and other standard ancillary texts
    19) Suhritprapti: knowledge gained from a kind-hearted person, while engaged in the spread of knowledge
    20) Daan: knowledge gained regardless of one’s own needs while attending to the requirements of those engaged in the search of the highest truth

    Hypothesis: These refer to factors which are conducive toward development of siddhis, such as associating with spiritually knowledgeable people and engaging in certain practices. These associations and activities have two important functions for the yogi: 1) they inspire the yogi and make them more committed to practicing yoga; and 2) they allow the power of suggestion (by means of thorough indoctrination and the appeal of spiritual authority figures) to act on the yogi’s mind so that the special spiritual knowledge gained from their siddhis (i.e. by way of quasi-controlled hallucinations) is consistent with religious teachings.

    21) Aadhyaatmik dukkh-haan: freedom from pain, disappointment, etc. that may arise due to lack of spiritual, metaphysical, mystic knowledge and experience
    22) Aadhibhautik dukkh-haan: freedom from pain etc. arising from possessing and being attached to various materialistic gains
    23) Aadhidaivik dukkh-haan: freedom from pain etc. caused by fate or due to reliance on fate

    Hypothesis: As described above, yoga practice and its association religious teachings of detachment from worldly concerns facilitate the development of greater awareness of, and ability to consciously dissociate from, one’s emotions, feelings and compulsions. The yogi is trained to perceive the body and the desires of the mind as dynamic and ephemeral phenomena, and consequently these things seem less real and less important than they do to most non-yogis. The yogi’s relationship to life changes, such that the yogi places more emphasis on how they react to events in the world rather than trying to engineer certain events to happen or not happen. The yogi’s brain should show increased size and neural activity in areas of the brain involved in emotional regulation (e.g. the cerebellum, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the orbitofrontal cortex) and a decrease in size and neural activity in areas of the brain involved in the generation of motivation, desires and emotion (e.g. the amygdala, the basal ganglia, the insula).

  • Silverghost Aug 25, 2014

    I thought I would add a psychologist’s view to such yogic practices. Modern science and Vedic science.

    https://www.mum.edu/pdf_msvs/v01/alexander.pdf

    Abstract
    “This paper provides a theoretical introduction and review of research on higher states of
    consciousness described in the Vedic Psychology of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Both crosssectional
    and longitudinal studies indicate that practice of the Maharishi Technology of
    the Unified Field, which includes the Transcendental Meditation (TM) and TM-Sidhi programs,
    accelerates the rate of development of higher states of consciousness compared to
    control groups, as assessed by the State of Consciousness Inventory and other measures.
    Increased frequency of experiences of higher states of consciousness is correlated with: (a)
    increased alpha and theta EEG coherence, Hoffman reflex recovery, and periods of respiratory
    suspension during TM practice indicative of a qualitatively distinct state of restful
    alertness; (b) increased self-actualization, attentional focus, creativity, fluid intelligence,
    and cognitive-perceptual abilities; (c) increased clarity and frequency of TM-Sidhi performances
    such as enhanced mind-body coordination and refinement of sensory thresholds; and
    (d) decreased anxiety, aggression, depression, and introversion. These results support the
    hypothesis that the Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field unfreezes human development
    typically fixed at the ordinary level of adult conceptual thought, allowing natural
    development to higher states of consciousness beyond the known endpoints proposed in current
    Western psychology.”

    I haven’t read this paper right through but what I did read I found interesting.

  • NoetPoet Aug 25, 2014

    @Marcus,

    I'm looking forward to your thoughts about Silverghost's contribution to this thread on 23 August 2014.

  • NoetPoet Aug 25, 2014

    PS Their point about conservation principals is also salient.

  • NoetPoet Aug 25, 2014

    @Leon

    Thanks for the heads-up, it's pretty funny that he's calling for reinforcement from his friends at Skeptiko (the skeptics site that isn't!), but it's also flattering in a way.

    And thank you for pointing out that comment from Planer and Bunge, it's an excellent point: the fact that the scientific method is so demonstrably reliable and successful is, in and of itself, a powerful argument against the idea that human minds can somehow directly manipulate reality.

  • Anonymous Icon

    LeonKennedy Aug 25, 2014

    I think Felix Planer and Mario Bunge have summed it up best:

    "All research in medicine and other sciences would become illusionary, if the existence of PK had to be taken seriously; for no experiment could be relied upon to furnish objective results, since all measurements would become falsified to a greater or lesser degree, according to his PK ability, by the experimenter's wishes."

    "Psychokinesis, or PK, violates the principle that mind cannot act directly on matter. (If it did, no experimenter could trust his readings of measuring instruments.) It also violates the principles of conservation of energy and momentum. The claim that quantum mechanics allows for the possibility of mental power influencing randomizers — an alleged case of micro-PK — is ludicrous since that theory respects the said conservation principles, and it deals exclusively with physical things."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parapsychology#Physics

  • Anonymous Icon

    LeonKennedy Aug 25, 2014

    NoetPoet,

    If you look on the parapsychology skeptiko forum it appears Marcus has been asking for back-up:

    "As the title suggests, I'm having a debate between a skeptic on the noetic science discussion page. I'm curious to know where I'm going wrong in my arguments (my username is marcusantonio91, his is noetpoet), and where I'm going ok."

    "That made me laugh rather hard I must say. His arguments on QM were just childish."

    http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threads/a-debate-between-a-skeptic-and-me.1210/

    lol

  • Anonymous Icon

    Tyler86 Aug 24, 2014

    “Another point about the ID/psi thing, is that there is a not inconsiderable amount of psi research published in mainstream journals. The same cannot be said for ID. The PA is a member of the AAAS. The discovery 'institute' isn't.”

    It does not matter if the Paranormal Association would be even a part of NASA. If they do not have th evidence it does not matter. Also PA is quite biased on the other hand. They even claim that Skeptiko hosted by Alex Tsakiris is great who also is not interested in the truth:

    "Alex Tsakiris hosts a podcast called Skeptiko: Science at the Tipping Point, which promotes intelligent debate featuring cutting edge scientists and capable skeptics. The Skeptiko website maintains a discussion forum and a growing collection of excellent interviews."

    Source: http://www.parapsych.org/section/49/skepticism.aspx

    PA according from what I read about them is just another organization like ID. They have a agenda, they have biases and they have also goals. They are no less religious then the ID movement from what I read about them.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Tyler86 Aug 24, 2014

    I heard that there is again Quantum Mechanics mentioned as "evidence" for paranormal. This is not true. The observer is important but it must not be a observer with consciousness it can be a device. Thus this argument is invalid. I just pop up here because I hate when people misuse QM for their believes when it clearly it is NOT evidence for it:

    "Strange as it may sound, interference can only occur when no one is watching. Once an observer begins to watch the particles going through the openings, the picture changes dramatically: if a particle can be seen going through one opening, then it's clear it didn't go through another. In other words, when under observation, electrons are being "forced" to behave like particles and not like waves. Thus the mere act of observation affects the experimental findings.

    To demonstrate this, Weizmann Institute researchers built a tiny device measuring less than one micron in size, which had a barrier with two openings. They then sent a current of electrons towards the barrier. The "observer" in this experiment wasn't human. Institute scientists used for this purpose a tiny but sophisticated electronic detector that can spot passing electrons. The quantum "observer's" capacity to detect electrons could be altered by changing its electrical conductivity, or the strength of the current passing through it."

    Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/02/980227055013.htm

  • NoetPoet Aug 24, 2014

    “Another point about the ID/psi thing, is that there is a not inconsiderable amount of psi research published in mainstream journals. The same cannot be said for ID. The PA is a member of the AAAS. The discovery 'institute' isn't.”

    And unlike parapsychologists, ID advocates have had a great deal of success getting their ideas into science classrooms and persuading the media that there is something to them. What mainstream journals have published psi articles, and what has the reception been?

    “No, they simply haven't. Heck, one article in the paper that I posted to you (Baptista) is devoted to removing expectation bias. So quite clearly, they haven't dismissed other explanations. And this is just one example.”

    The stuff I’ve read from Radin looks a whole lot like dismissal of other explanations to me. And the point still stands that it is not particularly meaningful to rule out OR dismiss other explanations if parapsychologists themselves cannot propose a coherent mechanism for psi.

    “From the paper I provided just now: "17% of fringe articles deal with theory and propose new hypotheses. Two-thirds offer explanations con- sistent with mainstream theories....on all counts, this sample of fringe journals satisfies the methodological criteria for proper science."

    17%? So the other 87% are just pinning psi on statistical anomalies? Which of these two-thirds offer explanations “consistent with mainstream theories”? Give me an example.

    “Wow, I expected a better response than that. Do please give me a good reason why there will never be another proposed theory of wave-function collapse. “

    You’ve missed the points of my Pixy Fairy Interpretation. The first point is that just because a particular interpretation of QM, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is credible or supported by evidence. The second point is that you are pinning your hopes on some nebulous hypothetical interpretation which doesn’t even exist yet and may never exist: if this isn’t an example of ‘living in the gaps’, then I don’t know what is!

  • NoetPoet Aug 24, 2014

    “I’ve stated on previous occasions that the ganzfeld seems to have a replication rate of 30%. Which is on par with other areas of science. (Baptista and co. 2014)”

    A 30% replication rate? So are you saying that experiments which fail to replicate psychic findings in Ganzfeld experiments outnumber those that do by more than two to one? From the Wikipedia article about Ganzfeld experiments (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganzfeld_experiment ) :
    “In a typical ganzfeld experiment, a "receiver" is placed in a room relaxing in a comfortable chair with halved ping-pong balls over the eyes, having a red light shone on them. The receiver also wears a set of headphones through which white or pink noise (static) is played. The receiver is in this state of mild sensory deprivation for half an hour. During this time, a "sender" observes a randomly chosen target and tries to mentally send this information to the receiver. The receiver speaks out loud during the thirty minutes, describing what he or she can see. This is recorded by the experimenter (who is blind to the target) either by recording onto tape or by taking notes, and is used to help the receiver during the judging procedure.
    In the judging procedure, the receiver is taken out of the Ganzfeld state and given a set of possible targets, from which they select one which most resembled the images they witnessed. Most commonly there are three decoys along with the target, giving an expected rate of 25%, by chance, over several dozens of trials.[8]”

  • NoetPoet Aug 24, 2014

    Notice the bit about the receiver selecting the target which “most resembled” the images they witnessed. Why isn’t the receiver asked to describe the *exact* image they witnessed? If there really is such a thing as “psi” then it shouldn’t matter how many distinct decoy targets the receiver is given; the receiver should be able to telepathically “see” the real target about as clearly as they can physically see how many fingers an experimenter might hold up right in front of them. However the Ganzfeld setup does give the receiver plenty of opportunity to use deduction and inference to make an educated guess about which target was presented based on an assumption of “randomness” (it has not been established that empirical reality’s default mode is to conform to our theoretical definitions of chance), as well as whatever subtle five-sense information the can glean – whether consciously or subconsciously - from the experimenter and their surroundings.

    Like Leon said if psi really did exist then how come it hasn’t been amplified by natural selection to the point where it is more obvious than occasional modest deviations from chance under lenient conditions? Have any of these Ganzfeld experiment subjects successfully used psi to correctly communicate so much as a four-letter sequence of symbols in a reliably replicable way? If parapsychologists want to impress the broader scientific community then they need to show something tangible, even if it’s just a nudged paperclip. Something that doesn’t rely on a negative definition of psi (“whatever we can’t or don’t want to explain through other means”).

    “The ganzfeld experiment today is conducted in EM shielded chambers. “

    So what is the proposed *mechanism* for psi if EM is ruled out by the experimental setup? HOW do parapsychologists propose that information is being transmitted under such circumstances?

    “I’m not denying that many skeptics are scientists. But equally, there are many who are not, who are simply professional skeptics with no actual background in other matters.”

    Like who?

    “Also, to your point about ‘another reality’. I’ve shown before in previous posts, most parapsychologists are not trying to prove ‘another reality’”

    I actually said “a whole new aspect of reality”, which is not the same thing! Would you not agree that the existence of psi would represent a whole new hitherto unknown aspect of reality?

  • NoetPoet Aug 24, 2014

    “Your arguments are interesting, that’s why, even if I disagree with them.”

    I’m glad you find them interesting. But at the same time, it doesn’t exactly help the cause of IONS to have people swamping the Discussions board with baseless anti-science drivel which, for the most part, goes unchallenged.

    “It might not win a prize, but I think the Baptista paper would be a good one to show that the research is actually quite robust at the very least, and does not have the experimental flaws that it is accused of. “

    Does that Baptista paper actually propose a *positive* and testable definition of psi? Does it do anything of significance other than defend the statistical methods of parapsychologists?

    “Well, then it’s a catch 22. Essentially. You complain no mechanism, when they propose a mechanism you complain.”

    Entanglement is not an adequate mechanism, I have already explained why. I have only seen parapsychologists mention it as a possible mechanism in passing, I have never seen a test or even a proposal for a test to investigate whether entanglement is actually occurring between subatomic particles in different people’s brains. Saying “entanglement is weird, psi is weird, therefore psi equals entanglement” is simply not good enough.

    “No, it’s a term for the data collected in parapsychology.

    You just said it’s a “catch all” term, which sounds like a taxonomical dumping ground to me. What you’re essentially saying here is that psi is psi. This is not a useful definition.

    “The von Neumann–Wigner interpretation, also described as "consciousness causes collapse [of the wave function]", is an interpretation of quantum mechanics in which consciousness is postulated to be necessary for the completion of the process of quantum measurement.” (Wikipedia) At the very least, it posits that a conscious observer is needed in this process. “

    Yes, but where does it say that a conscious observer can CHOOSE or PREDICT the outcome of the collapse? And where does it say that a conscious observer can do such things by merely *thinking* about a quantum system rather than actually observing it?

    “Actually, there has been a skeptical replication of the ganzfeld: “

    Refer to my comments and the Wikipedia article I linked above.

  • NoetPoet Aug 24, 2014

    “Again, parapsychologists have amassed an amount of data, it being small does not discount it. IDers have nothing to go on at all.”

    Plenty of IDers would disagree with you about this as strenuously as you disagree with me about psi. All they (think they) have to do is point to a gap in the current fossil record, or an example of some feature which “couldn’t possibly” have gotten there “all by itself” because it appears so marvellously designed (creationists will often point to scientists and engineers taking inspiration from nature for their own inventions to further reinforce this point). The IDer’s even have their own version of Radin’s gazillion-to-one odds stunt, where they say that the chances of intelligent life emerging are about the same as a jet airplane been created by a tsunami sweeping through a junkyard. Even by your own admission the parapsychologists’ data is small, and as I keep pointing out *they have no positive testable definition of psi* to provide *explanatory power* for their statistical results.

    “Well, there’s Persinger’s theory as I’ve mentioned, and quantum physics proposals. But you do not seem to accept that. Secondly, lack of mechanism so far is not grounds for dismissal. ID, as I’ve said, has no data. “

    Still have to look into Persinger, but in the meantime I will also point you to Leon’s comment about his experiments. Futhermore, although Persinger is proposing that hallucinations can be caused by magnetic stimulation of the brain, it does not necessarily follow that this provides a mechanism for things like telepathy and telekinesis.

    “I’ve shown before that parapsychologists have gone through the alternative explanations. This paper http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_17_2_mousseau.pdf Demonstrates this. Again, the same is not true of parapsychologists. “

    All I found in that article was some assertions that parapsychologists consider other explanations. Where is the actual consideration? Do you really think that IDers don’t make a similar show of “considering” explanations which don’t fit in with their worldview?

    “So we should dismiss parapsychology because of that?”

    It’s one of many glaring shortcomings which call the whole field into question. Over 100 years of parapsychological research have turned up nothing useful, unless we generously count discoveries which have actually weakened the case for psychic phenomena (e.g. discoveries about the neurological nature of hallucinations, the ideomotor effect). How long do you continue to flog a dead horse before you’re satisfied that the horse isn’t going anywhere?

  • NoetPoet Aug 24, 2014

    “On this, we agree, which is unfortunate. “

    And that doesn’t tell you something?

    “This is true to some extent. But when it comes to psi many scientists haven’t actually heard about the research, or indeed that research has gone into it. “

    There has been plenty of consideration given by non-parapsychologists to psi. The simple truth is that parapsychologists have never been able to present anything impressive or with explanatory power. Like I said before, scientists would love to have a whole new field of discovery open up to them. It would be like the science version of a gold rush.

    “See below. Furthermore, this demonstrates that parapsychologists do propose hypotheses.
    http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_17_2_mousseau.pdf”

    You still haven’t answered my question: what particular findings have been presented which are consistent with particular findings in other fields of science?”

    “Bar Geller, your accusations of fraud date back to the early part of the last century, you are essentially relying on cases over a century old. Apart from that, the researchers have not engaged in fraud. It’s just simply false to say so. Combined with the tightening of protocol, that has happened, that I have discussed previously, I don’t see how you can possibly postulate fraud occurring recently. You might also want to know that the fox sisters actually recanted their confession. “

    I did in fact cite examples which occurred well within the last 100 years, and not just Geller (and we have already been over Blackmore’s assessment of the state of the field based on her own firsthand experience). Nonetheless this comes back to one of my first points: the overt examples of psychic phenomena have had an unfortunate habit of turning out to be fraudulent or misunderstood non-psychic phenomena, and the resulting embarrassment and disappointment has prompted parapsychologists to progressively retreat into statistical shadows that are small enough for them to rationalise to themselves that “something interesting is going on”, without clarifying exactly *what* that something is. How many experiments have involved psychically nudged paperclips lately Marcus? And so what if the Fox sisters recanted their confession; as far as I’m concerned that just reinforces their lake of credibility and makes them essentially useless for both sides of this debate.

  • NoetPoet Aug 24, 2014

    "(God) has eluded scientific detection yet they (parapsychologists) seem to have detected something odd. Again, not so for ID.”

    They’ve detected “something” small and marginal in their statistical analysis. But how many times do I have to say it: correlation does not equal causation! Nor can you define psi in terms of what it’s not and expect the broader scientific community to take you seriously. Again, IDers will disagree with you as vehemently on this point as you do with me about psi.

    “parapsychology proposes hypotheses to test, as I have mentioned, just like any other branch of science (as I’ve mentioned before) ID does not do this.”

    What hypotheses exactly? And how does this in and of itself guarantee that they are not assuming what they set out to prove? The implied negative definition of psi is an excellent example of circular reasoning (“psi is anything which is not *not* psi”).

    “This just isn’t true for parapsychology. The survey I have quoted shows that only 25% at the most of parapsychologists see it in a spiritual way. I’ve repeated this to both you and dustinproduction and you continue to assert most of them are spiritual, they simply aren’t.”

    If it looks like a spiritual idea, walks like a spiritual idea, quacks like a spiritual idea, and hides from clear falsifiable definition like a spiritual idea, then chances are it’s a spiritual idea! Even if you insist that it isn’t “spiritual”, the proposed implications of it (such as they are) render it functionally identical to the pre-modern “spiritual” version of it.

  • Anonymous Icon

    LeonKennedy Aug 24, 2014

    On this page someone was referring to Michael Persinger. None of Persinger's research has been independently replicated. All of his results can be explained by suggestibility of participants. For example two Swedish scientists visited Persinger's lab discovered that magnetic fields had absolutely no effect on the results.

    French, CC., Haque, U., Bunton-Stasyshyn, R., Davis, R. (2009), "The "Haunt" project: An attempt to build a "haunted" room by manipulating complex electromagnetic fields and infrasound", Cortex 45 (5): 619–629.

    Granqvist, P., M. Fredrikson, P. Unge, et al. 2005. Sensed presence and mystical experiences are predicted by suggestibility, not by the application of weak complex transcranial magnetic fields. Neuroscience Letters 379: 1–6.

    Larsson, M., D. Larhammar, M. Fredrikson, et al. 2005. Reply to M.A. Persinger and S.A. Koren’s response to Granqvist et al. ‘Sensed presence and mystical experiences are predicted by suggestibility, not by the application of transcranial weak magnetic fields.’ Neuroscience Letters 380: 348–50.

    If you cannot get access to the above papers then check out the article "The Haunted Brain" by Richard Wiseman in the Skeptical Inquirer, found online here.

    http://www.csicop.org/si/show/the_haunted_brain/

    In short, none of Persinger's results have been independently replicated and as Wiseman put's it "the scientific jury is unconvinced".

  • Anonymous Icon

    LeonKennedy Aug 24, 2014

    marcusantonio91,

    Think of the survival/reproductive advantages afforded by psychic abilities. If there had ever, in our evolutionary milieu, been the smallest trace of these abilities, natural selection would have amplified it massively over time.*

    How do you account for the fact that these alleged psychic abilities are not now both obvious and ubiquitous? Let’s hear it. I think you’ll need to do some major hand waving to explain that one.

    *Not my own argument – I lifted this from Dara O’Briain.

  • NoetPoet Aug 24, 2014

    @Marcus,

    I'll respond to your posts shortly. In the meantime, have you got anything to say about the "contribution" that Silverghost just made?

  • Silverghost Aug 23, 2014

    There are some interesting replies and rebuttals on this subject however for some reason I haven’t actually replied to the actual questions initially stated, “why does mainstream science remain sceptical?”

    I will answer it like this; why was the churchmen in the Dark Ages fearful of knowledgeable people not of their ideological principles? Science was coming to the fore, there was a huge possibility that science just might debunk some of the principles of religion taking away some of the power the churches had over the populous.

    Present day; it’s not the churches that rule but science, the table has turned and it would seem the science community itself is running scared that a higher more powerful conciseness actually does exist. The more likely that a higher consciousness does exist, the more fearful reactions we are seeing from the science community. If spirituality is a lot of rubbish, why do the science community react so insecurely and aggressively?

    When anyone’s ideological principles are threatened that they hold dear, they will react in insecure ways, this is human nature no matter what ideological principle we are referring too.

    The science community are acting in a typical humanistic way, ignore anything that questions and/or threatens their principles and power, this is typical human behaviour and can only to be expected.

    Yogis are a threat to the present principles of science as they hint at a possible higher consciousness than science itself could ever obtain, this isn’t exactly true however if science became a part of this higher consciousness. It’s just consciousness so why couldn’t science obtain an understanding of a higher consciousness?

    What I believe is some scientist are like yogis, they do connect themselves to this higher consciousness at times, I believe you don’t need spirituality to actually do this but it easier for some people to do it this way plus it’s a lot more passive and constructive.

    The science community needs to get back on board before it’s too late. The churches suffered big time from the religious Dark Ages for being so ignorant, so can science!!

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 23, 2014

    NoetPoet I'm sorry I called you NoetAll. Please forgive me I thought you would at least take it in stride.

    Can we move on? Seriously interested in your theories on the those.

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 23, 2014

    Is that another way of saying "I have no explanation?"

  • NoetPoet Aug 23, 2014

    @SS
    Hot tip: If you want me to answer your questions, don't call me childish derogatory names.

    Back to ignoring your irrelevant spammings now...

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 23, 2014

    Another point about the ID/psi thing, is that there is a not inconsiderable amount of psi research published in mainstream journals. The same cannot be said for ID. The PA is a member of the AAAS. The discovery 'institute' isn't.

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 23, 2014

    "No, they’ve dismissed other explanations."

    No, they simply haven't. Heck, one article in the paper that I posted to you (Baptista) is devoted to removing expectation bias. So quite clearly, they haven't dismissed other explanations. And this is just one example.

    "Yes, but what does it mean to “not dismiss” negative results? Does it mean publishing and then quietly disregarding them? Does it mean trying to figure out why they gave null results and using those ideas to devise better experiences and/or testable mechanisms for psi?"

    From the paper I provided just now: "17% of fringe articles deal with theory and propose new hypotheses. Two-thirds offer explanations con- sistent with mainstream theories....on all counts, this sample of fringe journals satisfies the methodological criteria for proper science."

    This does not appear to be discounting other explanations at all.

    "Okay then Marcus, then I have another interpretation of QM for you. I call it Pixy Fairy Interpretation. According to the Pixy Fairy Interpretation, all the “weirdness” of quantum entanglement and wave-particle duality is actually due to tiny subatomic pixy fairies constantly casting spells on subatomic particles to make it look like they’re doing things that we find weird. The Pixies haven’t been detected because they’re very good at distracting scientists and hiding behind the subatomic particles they manipulate. What do you think of this interpretation?"

    Wow, I expected a better response than that. Do please give me a good reason why there will never be another proposed theory of wave-function collapse.

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 23, 2014

    “So once again I ask: where’s the paperclip? It was implied that the nudging of a paperclip that I’ve requested should be a replicable feat.”

    I’ve stated on previous occasions that the ganzfeld seems to have a replication rate of 30%. Which is on par with other areas of science. (Baptista and co. 2014)

    “Like who, and how much better? And how can you be sure that there isn’t some more plausible explanation, e.g. the meditator’s calmer state of mind facilitates improved concentration which allows them to perceive or deduce just enough of a pattern in the alleged randomness to perform slightly better than chance?”

    The ganzfeld experiment today is conducted in EM shielded chambers. The target they are supposed be looking at is selected at random by a computer. And they haven’t seen the targets before, so it seems cheating can be ruled out for these experiments.

    “Skeptics have not dismissed it out of hand Marcus, far from it. If anything they would love the sort of things that people like Volk propose to be true, because it would mean that there was a whole new aspect of reality to explore which could lead to new technologies and perhaps even solutions to problems that modern science is now trying to solve . You’ll also note that the most pre-eminent skeptics are not primarily skeptics by profession but scientists in fields as diverse as astronomy, evolutionary biology, and neurology.”

    I’m not denying that many skeptics are scientists. But equally, there are many who are not, who are simply professional skeptics with no actual background in other matters. Also, to your point about ‘another reality’. I’ve shown before in previous posts, most parapsychologists are not trying to prove ‘another reality’

    “I find it ironic that you were initially skeptical about this. Not that you were wrong to be skeptical, but it is interesting that you have applied your skepticism to me and my arguments as opposed to, say, certain other posters whom you yourself admit continually spam the IONS discussion boards with their irrational nonsense.”

    Your arguments are interesting, that’s why, even if I disagree with them.

    “There’s no need to apologise. I just wanted to make that particular point absolutely clear in case you or anyone else misconstrued my words.”

    Yeah, but I kinda of feel bad for bringing it up anyway. So again, sorry, even if you say there is no need.

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 23, 2014

    “It doesn’t have to win or be nominated for a Nobel Prize to be real, but such a development would be a good sign that there’s something to it, i.e. something which impresses the broader scientific community outside of the field of parapsychology. Something interesting may be going on Marcus, but that doesn’t mean that it’s what you and the parapsychologists (would like to) think it is! So, what paper/s do you think are impressive enough that I should try to bring it/them to Blackmore’s attention?”

    It might not win a prize, but I think the Baptista paper would be a good one to show that the research is actually quite robust at the very least, and does not have the experimental flaws that it is accused of.

    "No they’re not, they’re trying to rationalise their interpretation of the data and hoping that people won’t press them on their rationalisations. They’re basically asserting that “psi is weird, quantum entanglement seems weird, therefore psi is due to quantum entanglement”.

    Well, then it’s a catch 22. Essentially. You complain no mechanism, when they propose a mechanism you complain.

    “A catch all term, huh? So in other words, “psi” is a taxonomical dumping ground for anything we don’t fully understand?”

    No, it’s a term for the data collected in parapsychology.

    “When did Von Neumann say that a conscious observer could *alter* or *predict* the outcome of quantum events just by visualising them?”

    “The von Neumann–Wigner interpretation, also described as "consciousness causes collapse [of the wave function]", is an interpretation of quantum mechanics in which consciousness is postulated to be necessary for the completion of the process of quantum measurement.” (Wikipedia) At the very least, it posits that a conscious observer is needed in this process.

    “Translation: only believer parapsychologists can replicate psi – or rather, statistical anomalies which are ATTRIBUTED to psi”

    Actually, there has been a skeptical replication of the ganzfeld:
    http://www.deanradin.com/evidence/Delgado2005.pdf (I know it says Dean Radin, but its an article from a mainstream paper.

    “In our first study (Lau et al., 2005), we found that a significant (45%) group of participants chose the correct target. In the second study, 40% chose the correct picture, and 20% correct choices were made in our third study. Although the per- cent correct hits across the three studies (i.e., 35%) was greater than even the posi- tive meta-analyses, this overall percentage was not significantly greater than chance. These conflicting results led us to conduct five more studies, obtaining correct percentages of 30%, 30%, 20%, 35%, and 40%. After eight studies, we had an overall hit rate of 32%”

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 23, 2014

    “*Both ‘live in the gaps’ of data, asserting that any effect/anomaly however small MUST point to the existence of their pet causal factor (e.g. “Goddidit”).”

    Again, parapsychologists have amassed an amount of data, it being small does not discount it. IDers have nothing to go on at all.

    
“Neither are willing to propose a testable mechanism which could explain exactly *how* their pet causal factor works, or even a clear coherent definition of that factor.”

    Well, there’s Persinger’s theory as I’ve mentioned, and quantum physics proposals. But you do not seem to accept that. Secondly, lack of mechanism so far is not grounds for dismissal. ID, as I’ve said, has no data.

    
“Neither adequately considers other explanations which may have equal greater explanatory power, especially explanations which may explain *both* their pet causal factor and the alleged effects thereof (e.g. Emergence in ID; groupthink or even the mischievous antics of the Norse god Loki in Parapsychology)”

    I’ve shown before that parapsychologists have gone through the alternative explanations. This paper http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_17_2_mousseau.pdf Demonstrates this. Again, the same is not true of parapsychologists.

    
“Neither has produced any technological advances or contributions to scientific understanding”

    So we should dismiss parapsychology because of that?

    
“Both are magnets for nutjobs and anti-science types (for an example of this, just have a look around the IONS discussion board)”

    On this, we agree, which is unfortunate.

    
“Both are fond of alleging that “the Scientific Establishment” is conspiring to unfairly discredit them and their findings”

    This is true to some extent. But when it comes to psi many scientists haven’t actually heard about the research, or indeed that research has gone into it.

    
“Which one? What findings does it present which are consistent with findings in other fields of science?”

    See below. Furthermore, this demonstrates that parapsychologists do propose hypotheses.
    http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_17_2_mousseau.pdf

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 23, 2014

    “From Maxwell’s experiments showing that the allegedly paranormal movements in séances were due to the ideomotor effect, to the Fox sisters, the Creery sisters, Douglas Blackburn, the Soal-Goldney experiments, experiments conducted by Walter J Levy, Eusapia Palladino, to Uri Gellar: the history of parapsychology is littered with examples of fraud on the part of both experimental subjects and researchers,”

    Bar Geller, your accusations of fraud date back to the early part of the last century, you are essentially relying on cases over a century old. Apart from that, the researchers have not engaged in fraud. It’s just simply false to say so. Combined with the tightening of protocol, that has happened, that I have discussed previously, I don’t see how you can possibly postulate fraud occurring recently. You might also want to know that the fox sisters actually recanted their confession.

    “Both propose the existence of some causal factor which, despite its alleged ubiquity and significance, has completely eluded scientific detection and is functionally indistinguishable from what would be expected of a universe where said causal factor wasn’t present.”

    has eluded scientific detection yet they (parapsychologists) seem to have detected something odd. Again, not so for ID.

    “Both assume the key thing they are setting out to prove.”

    parapsychology proposes hypotheses to test, as I have mentioned, just like any other branch of science (as I’ve mentioned before) ID does not do this.

    “Both are a reaction against “materialist science” (which has been and continues to be a spectacularly successful enterprise), and are motivated by a desperate desire to shoehorn some semblance of pre-modern “spiritual” ideas into the “materialistic” paradigm of modern science.”

    This just isn’t true for parapsychology. The survey I have quoted shows that only 25% at the most of parapsychologists see it in a spiritual way. I’ve repeated this to both you and dustinproduction and you continue to assert most of them are spiritual, they simply aren’t.

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 23, 2014

    Marcus & Noet-all

    I am curious about how each of you explain the follow, if you would care to enlighten me:

    -Dreams
    -Intuition
    -States of consciousness (Near-death experience, hyper-focus, etc)
    -Why 'prayer' is effective
    -Why placebos can work

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 23, 2014

    Damn you auto correct!

    Aspirations = apparitions

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 23, 2014

    May I suggest that Manifested aspirations, psychic capabilities, etc are a product of the subconscious 'showing' the conscious mind something it cannot logically grasps?

    And so any such apparitions (such as imaginary friends for children) are the only way the conscious mind can 'make sense' of that which it cannot logically explain?

  • NoetPoet Aug 22, 2014

    @Dustproduction,

    I'm looking forward to reading about that Burning Man experiment.

    Please note that I am also in the process of writing up my hypotheses about how the supernormal powers or "siddhIs" purportedly obtainable through Yoga might actually be compatible with modern science.

  • NoetPoet Aug 22, 2014

    @Marcus
    “Consistently fooled by frauds? again, your say so!”

    From Maxwell’s experiments showing that the allegedly paranormal movements in séances were due to the ideomotor effect, to the Fox sisters, the Creery sisters, Douglas Blackburn, the Soal-Goldney experiments, experiments conducted by Walter J Levy, Eusapia Palladino, to Uri Gellar: the history of parapsychology is littered with examples of fraud on the part of both experimental subjects and researchers, as well as examples of non-“psi” phenomena (e.g. hallucinations caused by mental illness, the ideomotor effect) being mistaken for something paranormal. What do you honestly think is more likely: that humans have some mysterious “psi” capability which has evaded detection by all other fields of science, the most notable examples of which often turn out to be fraudulent; or that humans have great capacity for inventiveness, mischief, and self-deception?

    “Nice bit of misdirection there, I haven’t once mentioned any sort of ID nonsense.”

    That’s not what I’m driving at. What I’m saying is that parapsychology shares a number of key unfavourable features with ID. Namely:
    *Both propose the existence of some causal factor which, despite its alleged ubiquity and significance, has completely eluded scientific detection and is functionally indistinguishable from what would be expected of a universe where said causal factor wasn’t present.
    *Both assume the key thing they are setting out to prove.
    *Both are a reaction against “materialist science” (which has been and continues to be a spectacularly successful enterprise), and are motivated by a desperate desire to shoehorn some semblance of pre-modern “spiritual” ideas into the “materialistic” paradigm of modern science.
    *Both ‘live in the gaps’ of data, asserting that any effect/anomaly however small MUST point to the existence of their pet causal factor (e.g. “Goddidit”).
    *Neither are willing to propose a testable mechanism which could explain exactly *how* their pet causal factor works, or even a clear coherent definition of that factor.
    *Neither adequately considers other explanations which may have equal greater explanatory power, especially explanations which may explain *both* their pet causal factor and the alleged effects thereof (e.g. Emergence in ID; groupthink or even the mischievous antics of the Norse god Loki in Parapsychology)
    *Neither has produced any technological advances or contributions to scientific understanding
    *Both are magnets for nutjobs and anti-science types (for an example of this, just have a look around the IONS discussion board).
    *Both are fond of alleging that “the Scientific Establishment” is conspiring to unfairly discredit them and their findings.

  • NoetPoet Aug 22, 2014

    “See the recent paper I posted.”
    Which one? What findings does it present which are consistent with findings in other fields of science?

    “I don’t see why it has to win a nobel prize for it to be real, the experiments show something interesting is going on.”

    It doesn’t have to win or be nominated for a Nobel Prize to be real, but such a development would be a good sign that there’s something to it, i.e. something which impresses the broader scientific community outside of the field of parapsychology. Something interesting may be going on Marcus, but that doesn’t mean that it’s what you and the parapsychologists (would like to) think it is! So, what paper/s do you think are impressive enough that I should try to bring it/them to Blackmore’s attention?

    “They’re trying to come up with a mechanism to work it out. I don’t see the problem here.”

    No they’re not, they’re trying to rationalise their interpretation of the data and hoping that people won’t press them on their rationalisations. They’re basically asserting that “psi is weird, quantum entanglement seems weird, therefore psi is due to quantum entanglement”.

    “Telepathy: Exchange of info between two minds or more”
    According to your definition, ordinary speech and body language qualify as “telepathy”.
    “Clairvoyance: Information received from a distance beyond ordinary senses”
    According to your definition, radios and satellite dishes have “clairvoyance”
    “Precognition: Info perceived about future events (presentiment is much the same).”
    Like what weather reporters around the world do every day?

    “psi is the catch all term for these. It has been theorised that it is all aspects of one thing.”

    A catch all term, huh? So in other words, “psi” is a taxonomical dumping ground for anything we don’t fully understand?

    “The paper appears to be testing the Von Neumann interpretation, which is a valid one in quantum physics.”

    When did Von Neumann say that a conscious observer could *alter* or *predict* the outcome of quantum events just by visualising them?

  • NoetPoet Aug 22, 2014

    “Since when did physicists impose a limit on the number of interpretations, surely as research into QM continues, more interpretations may well arise?”

    Okay then Marcus, then I have another interpretation of QM for you. I call it Pixy Fairy Interpretation. According to the Pixy Fairy Interpretation, all the “weirdness” of quantum entanglement and wave-particle duality is actually due to tiny subatomic pixy fairies constantly casting spells on subatomic particles to make it look like they’re doing things that we find weird. The Pixies haven’t been detected because they’re very good at distracting scientists and hiding behind the subatomic particles they manipulate. What do you think of this interpretation?

    “ They do not dismiss negative results and do question their work and their results.” (Mousseau, 2003 p. 275)”

    Yes, but what does it mean to “not dismiss” negative results? Does it mean publishing and then quietly disregarding them? Does it mean trying to figure out why they gave null results and using those ideas to devise better experiences and/or testable mechanisms for psi?

    “You might be interested to know that the man who invented the EEG was someone who wanted to find evidence for telepathy, or at the very least, at a keen interest in it. So in that regard, an interest in it produced something pretty good at the very least.”

    Hans Berger was a neurologist, who happened to be interested in finding the physiological basis of “psychic energy”. In the latter respect he is the same as Susan Blackmore and me. Furthermore the process of EEG had been under development for decades by the time Berger perform the first human EEG and invented the electroencephalogram.

    “How so? psi researchers are not claiming these abilities are non physical at all, nor are they claiming we need much change, only a small expansion.”

    And in what respect/s do we only need “a small expansion”?

    “As in, it exists.”

    Everything “exists” Marcus, even elves and tiny quantum pixy fairies. Even God and psi exist! They exist *as ideas*, as figments of human imagination. The question is not whether they exist, but how they exist.

  • NoetPoet Aug 22, 2014

    “This video for me presents a good argument for qualia: It might be titled “anything nonphysical about mind” but it’s more of a defence of qualia in my view http://www.closertotruth.com/series/anything-non-physical-about-the-mind#video-3967”

    Ah, the old “what is it like to see red” chestnut. “Mary” can’t, by definition, have “complete physical knowledge” of the colour red if she hasn’t physically SEEN it before; her brain wouldn’t have knowledge of how to process and interpret wavelengths of light that we call “red”. The thought experiment is ridiculous; how typical of philosophers to assume that abstract book knowledge equals empirical knowledge. Evidently whoever came up with this thought experiment hadn’t heard of neuroplasticity: if Mary is not exposed to the colour red in a critical stage of her early childhood development, she will be incapable of perceiving it later on. Something similar happens with Japanese babies: they are born with the potential to be able to distinguish “L” sounds from “R” sounds, but because they are not exposed to these as meaningfully distinct sounds, they become incapable of perceiving the difference between them.

  • NoetPoet Aug 22, 2014

    Furthermore, there is no such thing as a particular qualitative experience of seeing red. Every person who sees red experiences it differently, and even the same person will experience red differently every time they see it. Our experiences of seeing red include an incredibly complex array of dynamic emotional, sensory and conceptual associations, which in turn derive from our memories, knowledge and inherited instincts. What we call “the experience of red” is actually a cognitive rule-of-thumb for a range of similar sensory experiences, some of which may not even involve physically seeing red at all.

    Re there being no “metaphysical discontinuity” between tables: the purported discontinuity is also a conceptual shorthand that humans incrementally develop through habituation, learning and experience. The human mind, through exposure to enough examples of “tables” begins to understand the salient physical and functional features of a “table”, and any phenomenon which satisfies these criteria will, in that person’s perception, be a “table”. And what the hell does he mean when he says that science “doesn’t explain the chair in and of itself”?? Is he positing that a chair has some sort of chair-self, some sort of ‘essence of chair’? Is he saying that there is a Platonic Ideal Form of the archetypal chair somewhere?? Tell me Marcus, what happens when you take a “chair” and turn it upside down, or cut the back or legs off it? Is it still a chair “in and of itself”? What happens when you sit on top of an empty wine barrel, does it suddenly become a chair “in and of itself”? And what happens when you stop sitting on that empty wine barrel, is it still a chair? Once you explain the “structure, function and dynamic” of an object, what the hell is left?? His assertion about “missing bits” between the chair and consciousness which science can’t capture is just that: an assertion. WHAT “missing bits” can’t be captured?? The chair reflects light, which is detected by your eyes and interpreted by your brain, and it has a solidity which can be detected by your sense of touch and similarly interpreted – THAT’s the connection to consciousness right there!

  • NoetPoet Aug 22, 2014

    “Ah the randi prize. I thought we get to that. Well, science doesn’t work like that, no scientist would accept something after one test. As Ray Hyman has said "Scientists don't settle issues with a single test ... Proof in science happens through replication."
    http://rense.com/general69/randi.htm
    As for the nobel prize comment, again, I repeat, that it hasn’t won it doesn’t mean much at all”

    Translation: pay no attention to the fact that no-one outside of parapsychology is impressed by parapsychologists’ claims. Pay no attention to the fact that only believer parapsychologists can replicate psi – or rather, statistical anomalies which are ATTRIBUTED to psi – and that even they get null results on a fairly regular basis. So once again I ask: where’s the paperclip? It was implied that the nudging of a paperclip that I’ve requested should be a replicable feat.

    “Of course they’ve considered other explanations, hence the due diligence that occurs after experiments.”

    No, they’ve dismissed other explanations. Occasionally they have suggested improbable connections to QM. If you don’t have a testable mechanism which offers explanatory power, how can you say that correlation is anything other than correlation? Especially when you’re talking about an area of research which is so prone to fraud, self-deception, wishful thinking, and the vagaries of subjective interpretation and interpersonal dynamics?

  • NoetPoet Aug 22, 2014

    “What are you talking about? They have people in the ganzfeld experiment who perform well, meditators for example seem to perform better than control groups. “

    Like who, and how much better? And how can you be sure that there isn’t some more plausible explanation, e.g. the meditator’s calmer state of mind facilitates improved concentration which allows them to perceive or deduce just enough of a pattern in the alleged randomness to perform slightly better than chance?

    “The same could be said for many in the skeptical crowd who dismiss it out of hand, having not ever looked into any of the research.”

    Skeptics have not dismissed it out of hand Marcus, far from it. If anything they would love the sort of things that people like Volk propose to be true, because it would mean that there was a whole new aspect of reality to explore which could lead to new technologies and perhaps even solutions to problems that modern science is now trying to solve . You’ll also note that the most pre-eminent skeptics are not primarily skeptics by profession but scientists in fields as diverse as astronomy, evolutionary biology, and neurology.

    “To your credit, you have actually looked at some of the stuff.”

    I find it ironic that you were initially skeptical about this. Not that you were wrong to be skeptical, but it is interesting that you have applied your skepticism to me and my arguments as opposed to, say, certain other posters whom you yourself admit continually spam the IONS discussion boards with their irrational nonsense.

    “First point yes: Persinger, M. (1985) Geophysical variables and behaviour XXX. Intense paranormal experiences occur during days of quiet, global, geomagnetic activity Perceptual and Motor Skills 61: 320-22
    Persinger, M. (1987) Spontaneous telepathic experiences from phantasms of the living and low global geomagnetic activity JASPR 81: 23-26.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9l6VPpDublg”

    Right, I’m going to have to go watch and read those things later, on top of everything else. But going on the titles of the two papers, it looks like Persinger is saying that geomagnetic activity can affect human brains. I wouldn’t be surprised if it could, considering that neural activity is a product of electrochemical processes. Geomagnetic influences may cause the brain to have hallucinations or other glitches (perhaps a bit like holding a magnet too close to a computer), but I doubt there is sufficient grounds to say that it allows human minds to communicate directly via manipulations of EM fields, much less move objects around with their minds.

  • NoetPoet Aug 22, 2014

    “As for your second point, psi research is conducted with EM shielding, so this can’t be the only mechanism according to them”

    So in such experiments, what is the proposed mechanism for psi?

    “Then how do we define what real is then?”

    See what I said above re “exist”. The question is not whether it is real, but *how* it is real.

    “I apologise profusely for bringing up that example. I think in the heat of argument I thought of an extreme example. So again, sorry about that.”

    There’s no need to apologise. I just wanted to make that particular point absolutely clear in case you or anyone else misconstrued my words.

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 22, 2014

    Please elaborate on to why this is timely and what you gathered from it.

    Thanks in advance :-)

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Aug 22, 2014

    How timely:

    "This study, explains Dean Radin, IONS Chief Scientist, is an experiment testing the hypothesis that mind and matter interact, and that this interaction can be detected when a group of people focus their collective attention toward the same object or event. Burning Man is an ideal setting to test this hypothesis because the group is isolated, the group is coherent in the sense that everyone at the festival shares the same high motivation to be there (no one wanders in accidentally), and because there are two periods during the week-long festival when all 70,000 people are focused on the same event: the burning of the man effigy and the burning of the temple.

    During these periods, when the collective mind associated with the crowd becomes unusually coherent, we predict that a similar moment of unusual coherence will arise in physical entropy. Based on previous pilot experiments at Burning Man, we predict that within a 20-minute window starting five minutes before the effigy burning ceremony, a greater-than-chance degree of cross-correlation will be observed among the outputs of our devices on the Playa (all of which are based on quantum randomness via electron tunneling).

    Thanks to the generous support of the Ray Benton Fund, we plan to place between 34 and 50 RNGs all around Black Rock City, all recording continuously from at least one day before the burning of the man effigy to the morning after the temple burn for a total of up to three days and producing hundreds of gigabytes of data to analyze. "

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 21, 2014

    Man-to-man = man-boy

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 21, 2014

    "No, that doesn't follow from my logic at all. Any newborn child who doesn't cry is in serious trouble because crying is integral to the process of filling their lungs with air once they leave the womb. Medical staff will often perform CPR on such a newborn ASAP."

    This is a misconception. We do not need to cry to breathe. I am not a PhD though, just a simple man-to-man, but I have some ideas which I'm sure someone else could shed some light on.

    Some thoughts:
    1. When air touches our wet faces + a light blow of air can trigger an initial breath. Or, when the face cools in the new less-warm environment that could trigger a breathe.
    2. If the umbilical core isn't cut instantly (it shouldn't be anyways until it stops convulsing) the placenta may be able to continue pumping oxygen into the bloodstream for several minutes.
    3. The act of drinking at the mothers bossum could trigger a breathe (assuming no mucus is blocking the nasal passage).

    The birth process is fundamentally broken in America. Consider watching 'the Business of being Born'.

    Secondly, doctors are incentives to do cesarean births. Not in the patient's interest, but in their own interests to save their time.

    Third, doctors require patients to lay on their backs to give birth. Yikes. Fact: squatting increases how 'open' the birth canal is by up to 30 percent, plus gravity can assist with pushing. When laying down, your not as open as you could be plus you have to push against gravity. Yikes.

    Fourthly, the petocin drug typically doesn't help anything - it only leads patients into a cesarean birth.

    Lastly, a spinal epidural numbs the nerves running through the placenta, through the umbilical cord, and attach to the baby. How do you propose a baby is formed to begin with? A reactive process? No, it is created by the mothers subconscious mind through the nervous system.

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 21, 2014

    “Oh sorry, how silly of me to think that a bunch of people who call themselves “parapsychologists” who have consistently been fooled by frauds and magicians over the decades and haven’t produced anything substantive to date might be a tad more inclined to cover their collective asses then usual!”

    Consistently fooled by frauds? again, your say so!

    “Next thing you know I’ll be accusing Intelligent Design advocates of such things!

    Nice bit of misdirection there, I haven’t once mentioned any sort of ID nonsense.

    “No, I asked what parts of parapsychology are consistent with scientific work in other fields. You can’t respond by saying that it’s “consistent with scientific work in other fields”. What findings and theories in parapsychology are consistent with other relevant fields like physics, neurology etc?”

    See the recent paper I posted.

    “Show us a recent paper that you think will knock the socks of Blackmore, the Nobel Prize committee and the rest of the world then.”

    I don’t see why it has to win a nobel prize for it to be real, the experiments show something interesting is going on.
    “Quantum entanglement? Have parapsychologists formally proposed and tested such a mechanism, or just mentioned it in passing as part of their post-hoc “explanations” for statistically significant correlations in their results?”
    They’re trying to come up with a mechanism to work it out. I don’t see the problem here.

    “And what are the formal definitions of these things? When is something precognition and not presentiment or telepathy? And what is the definition of “psi”?”

    Surely reading the literature you’d know what the definitions were? But here goes:
    Telepathy: Exchange of info between two minds or more
    Clairvoyance: Information received from a distance beyond ordinary senses
    Precognition: Info perceived about future events (presentiment is much the same).
    psi is the catch all term for these. It has been theorised that it is all aspects of one thing.

    “Are you talking about the paper which includes this little gem:”

    The paper appears to be testing the Von Neumann interpretation, which is a valid one in quantum physics. As to your other point, since when did physicists impose a limit on the number of interpretations, surely as research into QM continues, more interpretations may well arise?

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 21, 2014

    “Okay then, you say that parapsychologists publish null results, so what do they do with these null results? Are they acknowledged, ignored, explained away, or dismissed in favour of papers which do tell them what they want to hear? How many published null results are there relative to published positive results? Do parapsychologists apply the same standards of peer review to papers with positive results as they do to those with null results? And in spite of any relative lack of null result publications in other fields, why is it that parapsychology is so incredibly unproductive in terms of actual advances in scientific understanding and technology?”

    http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_17_2_mousseau.pdf

    Yes they do, the above paper demonstrates that parapsychologists follow much the same procedures as other areas of science: And they do address the problems

    “...29% of the fringe-journal articles (‘‘reflection articles’’ in Table 2) discuss progress of research, problems encountered, epistemological issues. This kind of article is completely absent from the mainstream sample. Thus fringe journals fit the ‘‘science’’ criterion closer than do mainstream journals. They do not dismiss negative results and do question their work and their results.” (Mousseau, 2003 p. 275)

    You might be interested to know that the man who invented the EEG was someone who wanted to find evidence for telepathy, or at the very least, at a keen interest in it. So in that regard, an interest in it produced something pretty good at the very least

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Berger

    “I said it would turn our UNDERSTANDING of reality upside down. The existence of psi would mean one or more of the following:
1) We have missed a fundamental force of physics through which psi might operate
2) Our models of how the human body and brain work are radically inaccurate
3) We have missed whole levels of reality beyond the physical realm which have causal implications for the world in which we live”
    How so? psi researchers are not claiming these abilities are non physical at all, nor are they claiming we need much change, only a small expansion.

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 21, 2014

    Again, what do you mean by “real” here?

    As in, it exists.

    “Does that mean you can’t offer any convincing arguments in favour of it?”

    This video for me presents a good argument for qualia: It might be titled “anything nonphysical about mind” but it’s more of a defence of qualia in my view http://www.closertotruth.com/series/anything-non-physical-about-the-mind#video-3967
    I will fully confess that I need to do more reading of the philosophy of mind, which is why I should probably drop this issue now until I have done more reading on it.

    “It’s not much of an ask Marcus. One paperclip, one millimetre, that’s all. I know parapsychologists are used to setting the bar incredibly low for “psi”, but really this is a very generous and reasonable request. Anyone who showed such a thing would win a Nobel Prize and Randi’s $1 million challenge without a doubt.”

    Ah the randi prize. I thought we get to that. Well, science doesn’t work like that, no scientist would accept something after one test. As Ray Hyman has said "Scientists don't settle issues with a single test ... Proof in science happens through replication."
    http://rense.com/general69/randi.htm
    As for the nobel prize comment, again, I repeat, that it hasn’t won it doesn’t mean much at all

    “How many times do I have to say that correlation doesn’t equal causation? How many times do I have to say that the null case in reality does not necessarily conform to what we would theoretically call “random”? And how many times do I have to ask if other more likely explanations have been duly considered and tested?”

    Of course they’ve considered other explanations, hence the due diligence that occurs after experiments.

    “I haven’t read that paper (yet) because I don’t have endless vistas of time to go through every piece of statistical apologetics you throw at me with a fine tooth comb”. Keep your shirt on; I will get to it when I get to it. What I can say at this point is that even if it’s file drawer analysis is sound, it is a relatively minor problem for parapsychology compared to all the other very serious problems I have pointed out, .e.g. the fact that parapsychologists can’t produce a single subject with even the slightest hint of genuine “psi” ability.”

    What are you talking about? They have people in the ganzfeld experiment who perform well, meditators for example seem to perform better than control groups. Moreover, I have pointed out that they take great effort to eliminate flaws, precisely because they will be called out on them.

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 21, 2014

    “I’m not suggesting they’re plucked from the air Marcus. I’m suggesting that Volk is not an impartial authority on this issue, and that he has the same inclination toward confirmation bias (and associated tendencies such as asking leading questions) as everyone else involved in parapsychology.”

    The same could be said for many in the skeptical crowd who dismiss it out of hand, having not ever looked into any of the research. To your credit, you have actually looked at some of the stuff.

    “When did I say QE (did you mean QM?) was the only proposed mechanism for psi? What is Persinger’s EM field theory, and is there any research to back it up? If it’s so great then why aren’t Radin et al shouting about it from the rooftops?”

    First point yes: Persinger, M. (1985) Geophysical variables and behaviour XXX. Intense paranormal experiences occur during days of quiet, global, geomagnetic activity Perceptual and Motor Skills 61: 320-22
    Persinger, M. (1987) Spontaneous telepathic experiences from phantasms of the living and low global geomagnetic activity JASPR 81: 23-26.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9l6VPpDublg
    As for your second point, psi research is conducted with EM shielding, so this can’t be the only mechanism according to them

    “I didn’t say the experiences which led to the PTSD weren’t real. I’m not even suggesting that the PTSD itself isn’t real: what I’m saying is that it’s not “real” in the way and to the extent that you seem to think it is.”

    Then how do we define what real is then?

    “I am NOT for a moment suggesting that paedophilia is okay: what I’m saying is that even if the child isn’t immediately traumatised, they will be later on as an inevitable result of their own biological/neurological development.”

    I apologise profusely for bringing up that example. I think in the heat of argument I thought of an extreme example. So again, sorry about that.

  • NoetPoet Aug 20, 2014

    @SS

    "By your logic children are never born not crying. True?"

    No, that doesn't follow from my logic at all. Any newborn child who doesn't cry is in serious trouble because crying is integral to the process of filling their lungs with air once they leave the womb. Medical staff will often perform CPR on such a newborn ASAP.

    "In fact, Many children are born and not crying. When the doctor freaks out cause they aren't crying, the child senses their fear and begins to cry (whereas all would have been good if the child went directly into the mothers arm where it would discover love/compassion)"

    Rubbish. Some newborn children might have a delayed reaction before they start crying, but this is a bad thing for the reason i already stated.

  • NoetPoet Aug 20, 2014

    “Before you start attacking him (Steve Volk), you should know that he interviewed these people who concluded that parapsychology was on par with other sciences. Like I've said, I'll happily email you the book to prove to you I have not plucked the quotes from thin air.”

    I’m not suggesting they’re plucked from the air Marcus. I’m suggesting that Volk is not an impartial authority on this issue, and that he has the same inclination toward confirmation bias (and associated tendencies such as asking leading questions) as everyone else involved in parapsychology.

    “Actually, QE is not the only proposed mechanism for psi. Michael Persinger has proposed it has something to do with Earth's EM field, so your claim about no testable hypothesis is simply false. again.”

    When did I say QE (did you mean QM?) was the only proposed mechanism for psi? What is Persinger’s EM field theory, and is there any research to back it up? If it’s so great then why aren’t Radin et al shouting about it from the rooftops?

    “Yes, aren't they referred to as psychopaths?”

    Yes they often are. What’s your point?

    “I completely agree that people are wired differently, but to say what someone experienced isn't real is just silly. My grandfather was in WWII, and he had some pretty terrifying experiences. I would never presume to say the experiences were not real. “

    I didn’t say the experiences which led to the PTSD weren’t real. I’m not even suggesting that the PTSD itself isn’t real: what I’m saying is that it’s not “real” in the way and to the extent that you seem to think it is.

    ”Let's take this further, would you say the experiences of children who were physically or sexually abused, not real, the trauma that they suffered an 'illusion'? No, you wouldn't, you would say what they went through was most certainly real, to deny they went through any kind of horror is insulting.”

    Interesting that you should mention child sex abuse at this point. Unless it has an overtly violent or threatening context, a child who experiences sexual abuse often doesn’t see it as a bad or traumatic thing at the time. It’s only later when their brain develops and they start to be able to view their abuse experience in a sexual context that they become distressed about it. Now keep in mind that I am NOT for a moment suggesting that paedophilia is okay: what I’m saying is that even if the child isn’t immediately traumatised, they will be later on as an inevitable result of their own biological/neurological development.

    Again, what do you mean by “real” here?

  • NoetPoet Aug 20, 2014

    “On qualia, we are not going to come to any agreement. “

    Does that mean you can’t offer any convincing arguments in favour of it?

    “This is your arbitrary test for the reality of psi or not, hardly what I'd call scientific"

    It’s not much of an ask Marcus. One paperclip, one millimetre, that’s all. I know parapsychologists are used to setting the bar incredibly low for “psi”, but really this is a very generous and reasonable request. Anyone who showed such a thing would win a Nobel Prize and Randi’s $1 million challenge without a doubt.

    “Actually, the ganzfeld has a pretty decent replication rate "25% to 30% to 37%" which is on par with other sciences Baptistia and Derakhshani (2014, p. 58).”

    How many times do I have to say that correlation doesn’t equal causation? How many times do I have to say that the null case in reality does not necessarily conform to what we would theoretically call “random”? And how many times do I have to ask if other more likely explanations have been duly considered and tested?
    “Repeating a lie doesn't make it true. I've shown you point blank that parapsychologists publish null results and other science disciplines rarely do. And you masquerade this as 'lip service' again, with nothing to show this apart from your say so. Moreover, the paper I provided to you, which you've gone rather silent on I might add, shows the file drawer isn't a problem. So stop regurgitating the same falsehood ad nauseam.

    I haven’t read that paper (yet) because I don’t have endless vistas of time to go through every piece of statistical apologetics you throw at me with a fine tooth comb. Keep your shirt on; I will get to it when I get to it. What I can say at this point is that even if it’s file drawer analysis is sound, it is a relatively minor problem for parapsychology compared to all the other very serious problems I have pointed out, .e.g. the fact that parapsychologists can’t produce a single subject with even the slightest hint of genuine “psi” ability.

    Okay then, you say that parapsychologists publish null results, so what do they do with these null results? Are they acknowledged, ignored, explained away, or dismissed in favour of papers which do tell them what they want to hear? How many published null results are there relative to published positive results? Do parapsychologists apply the same standards of peer review to papers with positive results as they do to those with null results? And in spite of any relative lack of null result publications in other fields, why is it that parapsychology is so incredibly unproductive in terms of actual advances in scientific understanding and technology? Yes I have read papers including the ones most recently posted on IONS, and I am well acquainted with the material in Dean Radin’s books Entangled Minds and The Conscious Universe.

  • NoetPoet Aug 20, 2014

    “Of course it is, it's probably critical in our evolution, doesn't make the actual pain someone is experiencing any less real.”

    Any less real how? It’s something that can only exist through neural activity.

    “Falling over is different to say, having a hand caught in the door, I doubt if a child or parent accidentally did that, we would say their pain is non-existent.”

    The sensation which we call “pain” may be there, provided the appropriate neural architecture is present. I didn’t say it was non-existent; I said it wasn’t real as anything other than a product of neural activity and perception.

    “This is an oft touted claim, but it is just nonsense, how would it turn reality upside down. “

    I said it would turn our UNDERSTANDING of reality upside down. The existence of psi would mean one or more of the following:
    1) We have missed a fundamental force of physics through which psi might operate
    2) Our models of how the human body and brain work are radically inaccurate
    3) We have missed whole levels of reality beyond the physical realm which have causal implications for the world in which we live

    “Your basically accusing parapsychologists of conspiracy, with nothing to go on but your say so.”

    Oh sorry, how silly of me to think that a bunch of people who call themselves “parapsychologists” who have consistently been fooled by frauds and magicians over the decades and haven’t produced anything substantive to date might be a tad more inclined to cover their collective asses then usual! Next thing you know I’ll be accusing Intelligent Design advocates of such things!

  • NoetPoet Aug 20, 2014

    “You've just quoted it as have I: quantitative data, "seeks empirical confirmation or discomfirmation, looks for correlations, relies on logic, proposes and tries new hypotheses, admits gaps in the current database, and is consistent with scientific work in other fields"

    No, I asked what parts of parapsychology are consistent with scientific work in other fields. You can’t respond by saying that it’s “consistent with scientific work in other fields”. What findings and theories in parapsychology are consistent with other relevant fields like physics, neurology etc?

    “non-sequitur and childishness, another fallacious bit of 'reasoning' because they haven't one a prize, you dismiss it.”

    Show us a recent paper that you think will knock the socks of Blackmore, the Nobel Prize committee and the rest of the world then.

    “Talk about moving the goalposts, it does't change the fact that she hasn't been involved in it for decades, which you were claiming earlier you didn't see any evidence of that. “

    Yes, she hasn’t been involved because she can’t be bothered checking under every parapsychologists’ bed for monsters, so to speak. She’s checked under enough beds to be satisfied that there are better things to do.

    “Well, there's the idea that it might have something to do with quantum entanglement, but then you whine when they use that, so it's a catch 22.”

    Quantum entanglement? You mean the process whereby subatomic particles areanti- correlated in a carefully contrived experimental setup for a very brief amount of time? The process which requires said subatomic particles to have been physically together, and which rapidly disappears even in laboratory conditions because those particles interact with all the other particles in the environment? How then could even one electron in one person’s brain become entangled with an electron in another person’s brain for even one second, let alone the billions of neurons which would be required for even the simplest mind-to-mind transmission of information? And have parapsychologists formally proposed and tested such a mechanism, or just mentioned it in passing as part of their post-hoc “explanations” for statistically significant correlations in their results?

  • NoetPoet Aug 20, 2014

    “Well there are a few subtypes actually; clairvoyance, precognition, presentiment, telepathy. “

    And what are the formal definitions of these things? When is something precognition and not presentiment or telepathy? And what is the definition of “psi”?

    “Incorrect, Radin and Bem and Sheldrake didn't actually have any reason to think it was real when they first started out. But that would require you actually have some knowledge about them rather than your caricature like impression of them.”

    I have plenty of knowledge of Radin and Sheldrake, and I know that whatever their initial motivation may have been (and who can really know but them?), that they have become heavily invested in the idea that things like psi are real, and have made quite a living off trying to convince the public of such and marketing themselves as the next Galileos of science.

    “Moreover, I've seen you pull that stunt on the double slit paper page. I doubt you've actually read that paper in any case, moreover, the "assumed conclusion" is a strawman, they made a hypothesis based on previous research. Most scientific tests propose a hypothesis, so your a just denigrating them for no reason at all.

    Are you talking about the paper which includes this little gem:
    “The research assistant then told participants that when they heard a recorded voice instructing them to “concentrate,” that they should focus their attention on the two slits located inside the optical system. It was explained that this task was an act of imagination and that they would not be looking at the actual slits with their eyes.”
    Like I said before, there is NO interpretation of QM which says that merely visualising a quantum system in one’s imagination will cause alterations in that system. Moreover there is no interpretation of QM which says that an observer – even a conscious observer – can influence or predict how particular wave functions will collapse. Not only does this experiment assume its conclusion, it does so in a way which isn’t even supported by the science of quantum physics! What part of that experiment’s hypothesis involved a testable mechanism regarding *how* human attention alters quantum systems, let alone a discussion of how such a hypothesis had better explanatory power for the results than any other possibility?

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Aug 20, 2014

    Second attempt, don't read anything into it, just answer yes or no to this simple question. A one word response. Okay?

    "Do we agree that parapsychology includes the the following; near-death experiences, reincarnation, apparitional experiences, apparitions, hauntings, and the physical aspects of Spiritualism such as table-tilting, materialization and apportation."

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 20, 2014

    @dust. I think there's been a misunderstanding

    "what you are avoiding is the fact that many are attracted to parapsychology because they are already spiritual"

    If you mean those who follow the research, but aren't themselves parapsychologists then we are in complete agreement.

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 20, 2014

    But dust.. What is 'spiritual'?

    Is it a synonym for Holy?

    What is Holy? Is it perhaps Wholey?

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Aug 20, 2014

    @ Marcus

    I'm so disappointed in your reply:
    "@ dust. The study of those topics does not necessarily make one 'spiritual' any more than studying politics makes one a politician."

    Your choices were "yes or no."
    This is avoidance at its best. I am considering the fact that continuing this discussion might be a waste of my time.
    Your point is obvious, but what you are avoiding is the fact that many are attracted to parapsychology because they are already spiritual, not that it make them so.

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 20, 2014

    "Don't be too hard on yourself, you've already gone further down an irrational path than almost anyone else I've ever encountered."

    You may be surprised I'm accepting this as a compliment.

    Thank you, you're too kind. :-)

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 20, 2014

    By your logic children are never born not crying. True?

    I wasn't born crying, in fact I was born yellow and nearly dead by bacterial infection.

    In fact, Many children are born and not crying. When the doctor freaks out cause they aren't crying, the child senses their fear and begins to cry (whereas all would have been good if the child went directly into the mothers arm where it would discover love/compassion)

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 20, 2014

    Ah but you misunderstand 'irrational'.

    "The information from the nervous system is registered, processed and perceived as pain in the brain. What's your point here?"

    The point is it is generated from a part of the brain you're oblivious to, then received in the part you believe to be your 'self'.

    Yes 1+1=tacos to you.

  • NoetPoet Aug 20, 2014

    @SS

    "I believe we're born with that trait."

    To some extent is in an instinctive response, but much of our subjective perception of pain is learned.

    "We are normally born crying because it hurts to be crammed through a small hole."

    We cry at birth in order to fill our lungs with air.

    "We cry when we're hungry aka stomach pains."

    We cry to alert adults around us that we need to be feed. As with crying at birth, the mechanistic functionality comes first, the qualitative subjective perception that "this is painful" comes later as a result of learning, association, and a solidified sense of self.

  • NoetPoet Aug 20, 2014

    @SS

    "Sorry to not read your whole argument, but I can dabble only so far down an irrational path!"

    Don't be too hard on yourself, you've already gone further down an irrational path than almost anyone else I've ever encountered.

    "The nervous system is an extension of the brain. Anesthetics cut the nerves off from the brain temporarily - it doesn't however stop the signals from being sent."

    The information from the nervous system is registered, processed and perceived as pain in the brain. What's your point here?

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 20, 2014

    @ dust. The study of those topics does not necessarily make one 'spiritual' any more than studying politics makes one a politician.

    I must add the the survey I quoted was a repeat of another one conducted which had a higher response rate. In any case, they both showed results that were very much the same. (I repeat, I'll email you the book to prove this point)

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 20, 2014

    "Have you ever observed how a toddler reacts when they fall over? Their initial reaction is often one of stunned bemusement, and only when they see the adults and older children around them react with gasps of horror and questions of “are you okay?” do they then associate the sensation they are experiencing with something bad and start to cry."

    I believe we're born with that trait.

    We are normally born crying because it hurts to be crammed through a small hole.

    We cry when we're hungry aka stomach pains.

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 20, 2014

    "By the way, are you referring to Steve Volk here?"

    Before you start attacking him, you should know that he interviewed these people who concluded that parapsychology was on par with other sciences. Like I've said, I'll happily email you the book to prove to you I have not plucked the quotes from thin air.

    Actually, QE is not the only proposed mechanism for psi. Michael Persinger has proposed it has something to do with Earth's EM field, so your claim about no testable hypothesis is simply false. again.

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 20, 2014

    "But did you know that there are some people who are immune to PTSD? They can go through the sort of horrific experiences that would cause PTSD in most others and be unmoved by them, because the parts of their brains involved in things like compassion, fear, stress etc don’t function normally."

    Yes, aren't they referred to as psychopaths?

    I actually met such a person a few months back, an ex-SAS soldier. He said to me quite matter-of-factly that any soldier who is prone to PTSD is “in the wrong f---ing job”. Like I said before, just because it feels real doesn’t mean it IS real.

    I completely agree that people are wired differently, but to say what someone experienced isn't real is just silly. My grandfather was in WWII, and he had some pretty terrifying experiences. I would never presume to say the experiences were not real.
    Let's take this further, would you say the experiences of children who were physically or sexually abused, not real, the trauma that they suffered an 'illusion'? No, you wouldn't, you would say what they went through was most certainly real, to deny they went through any kind of horror is insulting. On qualia, we are not going to come to any agreement.

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 20, 2014

    "Not so much as a single paperclip moved by even one millimetre using “psi”.

    This is your arbitrary test for the reality of psi or not, hardly what I'd call scientific"

    "And yet they still haven’t come up with squat"

    Actually, the ganzfeld has a pretty decent replication rate "25% to 30% to 37%" which is on par with other sciences Baptistia and Derakhshani (2014, p. 58).
    @noet pt 2.

    "That’s the wonderful thing about the File-Drawer effect isn’t it?"

    Repeating a lie doesn't make it true. I've shown you point blank that parapsychologists publish null results and other science disciplines rarely do. And you masquerade this as 'lip service' again, with nothing to show this apart from your say so. Moreover, the paper I provided to you, which you've gone rather silent on I might add, shows the file drawer isn't a problem. So stop regurgitating the same falsehood ad nauseam.

    I'd also like to seriously question what parapsychological papers and books you've actually read, care to quote a few papers you've read before? If so, when was the last time you actually read any of the literature, and any of the recent literature, bar the paper I sent you assuming you are actually reading it?

    to qualia:

    "The pain is merely a signal produced by your brain to indicate that something is wrong."

    Of course it is, it's probably critical in our evolution, doesn't make the actual pain someone is experiencing any less real.

    "Have you ever observed how a toddler reacts when they fall over? Their initial reaction is often one of stunned bemusement, and only when they see the adults and older children around them react with gasps of horror and questions of “are you okay?” do they then associate the sensation they are experiencing with something bad and start to cry."

    Falling over is different to say, having a hand caught in the door, I doubt if a child or parent accidentally did that, we would say their pain is non-existent. Likewise, if we weren't to block the pain when you had a knife in your hand, would you say it wasn't real? Of course not, same to those terminally ill people dying of a debilitating disease, we can hardly say that their pain isn't real. Or those who were tortured throughout history,I'd hardly call their pain not real. Yes it is their experience, but it is still, to them, real.

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 20, 2014

    Marcus, you seem like a wise fellow! May I have your email for a private discussion? If you have one as a catch-all for spam, that will suffice. I may be able to assist you.

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 20, 2014

    " If the claims of parapsychologists turned out to be true it would turn our whole understanding of reality upside down, especially in physics"

    This is an oft touted claim, but it is just nonsense, how would it turn reality upside down.

    "That’s the wonderful thing about the File-Drawer effect isn’t it? You can never tell how many null results have been filed away, or if the ones that are published are merely done so in order to pay lip service to the idea of impartiality and to conceal the true extent of null results."

    Your basically accusing parapsychologists of conspiracy, with nothing to go on but your say so.

    "And what parts of parapsychology are “consistent with scientific work in other fields”?"

    You've just quoted it as have I: quantitative data, "seeks empirical confirmation or discomfirmation, looks for correlations, relies on logic, proposes and tries new hypotheses, admits gaps in the current database, and is consistent with scientific work in other fields"

    By the way, are you referring to Steve Volk here?

    Yup, and attacking the author doesn't constitute an argument if that's what your about to do.

    "How many parapsychologists have won or been nominated for Nobel Prizes lately? How many beds do we have to look under to check for monsters before we’re satisfied that monsters don’t live under beds?"

    non-sequitur and childishness, another fallacious bit of 'reasoning' because they haven't one a prize, you dismiss it.

    "Yet she then goes on to say:"

    Talk about moving the goalposts, it does't change the fact that she hasn't been involved in it for decades, which you were claiming earlier you didn't see any evidence of that.

    "Parapsychologists have not proposed a testable mechanism for psi"

    Well, there's the idea that it might have something to do with quantum entanglement, but then you whine when they use that, so it's a catch 22.

    "Parapsychologists have not even provided a rigorous definition of psi, or subtypes thereof"

    Well there are a few subtypes actually; clairvoyance, precognition, presentiment, telepathy.

    "Parapsychologist have based their whole professional identity on the idea that psi is real. They have already *assumed their conclusion* before they even begin their experiments."

    Incorrect, Radin and Bem and Sheldrake didn't actually have any reason to think it was real when they first started out. But that would require you actually have some knowledge about them rather than your caricature like impression of them. Moreover, I've seen you pull that stunt on the double slit paper page. I doubt you've actually read that paper in any case, moreover, the "assumed conclusion" is a strawman, they made a hypothesis based on previous research. Most scientific tests propose a hypothesis, so your a just denigrating them for no reason at all.

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 20, 2014

    Sorry to not read your whole argument, but I can dabble only so far down an irrational path!

    To your argument on the anesthetic, why though?

    The nervous system is an extension of the brain. Anesthetics cut the nerves off from the brain temporarily - it doesn't however stop the signals from being sent.

    This other gentleman's argument on that same topic, pain, does the opposite - it cuts off the signal to be sent in the first place.

  • NoetPoet Aug 19, 2014

    @Marcus

    “The denial of qualia is silly, quite frankly.”

    Why is it silly to deny qualia?

    “Yes, as you've said, we can block pain. But you were to be stabbed in the hand, would you say that your experience of pain isn't real?”

    As I’ve already told you, if I got stabbed in the hand and then had my brain tweaked in the right way then the pain would disappear, even though the injury itself would be no less serious. This really isn’t such an extraordinary prospect Marcus: just ask a leper or anyone who’s ever been given a local anaesthetic. For that matter, ask an amputee who still feels itches and sometimes even strong pains in a limb which hasn’t been there for years. The pain is merely a signal produced by your brain to indicate that something is wrong. Have you ever observed how a toddler reacts when they fall over? Their initial reaction is often one of stunned bemusement, and only when they see the adults and older children around them react with gasps of horror and questions of “are you okay?” do they then associate the sensation they are experiencing with something bad and start to cry.

    “Likewise, those thousands of soldiers who come back from war, traumatised. Would you say that their subjective experience of war was an illusion? That their PTSD isn't real?”

    Real in what respect? It’s certainly real as a psychological and neurological condition for particular people. But did you know that there are some people who are immune to PTSD? They can go through the sort of horrific experiences that would cause PTSD in most others and be unmoved by them, because the parts of their brains involved in things like compassion, fear, stress etc don’t function normally. I actually met such a person a few months back, an ex-SAS soldier. He said to me quite matter-of-factly that any soldier who is prone to PTSD is “in the wrong f---ing job”. Like I said before, just because it feels real doesn’t mean it IS real.

  • NoetPoet Aug 19, 2014

    @Marcus (1 of 3)

    “Continued false accusation of them fudging the results doesn't make it true, sorry. You'll have to do better than that.”

    It’s not a false accusation. Not only that, the very foundations of the experiments themselves flawed for reasons I have already pointed out, namely:
    1) Parapsychologists have not proposed a testable mechanism for psi
    2) Parapsychologists have not even provided a rigorous definition of psi, or subtypes thereof
    3) Because of 1 and 2, parapsychologists have not - indeed CANNOT - produced any research which clearly shows that “psi” is responsible for the small effects they’re claiming.
    4) They assume that the probabilities associated with null hypothesis equate to what would be theoretically expected to happen “by chance”.
    5) Parapsychologist have based their whole professional identity on the idea that psi is real. They have already *assumed their conclusion* before they even begin their experiments. That’s not how real science works!

    In light of the above, it is not at all surprising that parapsychology has yielded *nothing* in terms of advancing scientific knowledge or new technologies.

    “There you go, pretty clear that she hasn't kept up to date with the literature. In her own words "I'm ignorant about quite a lot of what has gone on in the past 15 years"”

    Yet she then goes on to say:
    “It also comes from another source, which is that I still know enough people-I don’t see them much or communicate with them that much–but I still know people in the field and I suspect that if there were the kind of-if something happened that was really compelling, for example the success of some project like AWARE, somebody would tell me. Then I would go back and have a look. It would throw me. It would be kind of challenging and difficult but also very exciting, but that’s really where my “I doubt it” is coming from.”
    So tell me Marcus, what ground-breaking parapsychology papers have come out in recent years that Ms Blackmore might be unaware of? How many parapsychologists have won or been nominated for Nobel Prizes lately? How many beds do we have to look under to check for monsters before we’re satisfied that monsters don’t live under beds?

  • NoetPoet Aug 19, 2014

    @Marcus (2 of 3)

    “Irrelevant, there were a lot of fringe sciences that were like this before. "

    Not irrelevant at all. What fringe sciences are you talking about? Are you referring to the geologists who first proposed continental drift theory? What you’ll notice in cases like this Marcus is that the “fringe” view gradually won over the scientific mainstream because it accumulated a body of compelling evidence which eventually made it clear that the “fringe” paradigm had better explanatory power than the established paradigm it replaced. That’s the key thing here Marcus: explanatory power. What, pray tell, does “psi” offer by way of better explanatory power, especially when parapsychologists won’t even offer a coherent definition and mechanism for psi??

    “From Volk (2011) "[skeptics] have insisted for decades that parapsychologists must employ tighter and tighter controls on their studies-to eliminate the obvious possibilities like fraud, and more subtle ones like sensory leakage, in response the parapsychologists have increased the rigor of their methodology" “

    And rightly so considering how prone this area of study is to subjective interpretation, confirmation bias on the part of believers / parapsychologists, and fraudulent conduct of proponents and experimental subjects. By the way, are you referring to Steve Volk here?

    ““What he found was the exact opposite: psi researchers took the skeptics seriously, conducting experiments according to methodology that kept pace with the most rigorous of physical sciences" (Volk 2011)”

    And yet they still haven’t come up with squat. Not so much as a single paperclip moved by even one millimetre using “psi”.

  • NoetPoet Aug 19, 2014

    @Marcus (3 of 3)
    “ "In 2003, French sociologist compared ten markers of good science with the work of parapsychologists. Her aim was to see whether psi researchers really are practicing pseudoscience. She defined a real scientist as one who uses quantitative data, seeks empirical confirmation or discomfirmation, looks for correlations, relies on logic, proposes and tries new hypotheses, admits gaps in the current database, and is consistent with scientific work in other fields. She then reviewed the work in four 'fringe journals studying the paranormal and found them to be rigorously consistent in employing methods of good science. In fact, when comparing the fringe journals to mainstream journals in physics, psychology, and optics, she found no qualitative difference between them" “

    “She” (who?) looked for correlations, but did she look for causal mechanisms and explanatory power? Did she look for contributions to scientific understanding or technological advancement? How about rigor of definition of variables, did she look for those? Did she look at how well they consider and test alternative explanations? And what parts of parapsychology are “consistent with scientific work in other fields”? If the claims of parapsychologists turned out to be true it would turn our whole understanding of reality upside down, especially in physics. Hence my earlier question about Nobel Prizes and nominations for parapsychological research, which surely would be forthcoming if they actually had anything compelling.

    “Moreover, "parapsychologists regularly publish "null" results-studies in which no evidence of psi is found-the mainstream journals Mousseau studied published nothing but confirmatory data" (volk, 2011)”

    That’s the wonderful thing about the File-Drawer effect isn’t it? You can never tell how many null results have been filed away, or if the ones that are published are merely done so in order to pay lip service to the idea of impartiality and to conceal the true extent of null results. Especially when you’re talking about a field of research whose very name makes the inherent bias of its researchers obvious for all to see.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Aug 19, 2014

    Laughable SS.
    Look up the word "context."

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 19, 2014

    @dust don't mention it if you don't want it discussed

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Aug 19, 2014

    @ Ss

    Please find one of the many NDE discussions here if that is what you wish to comment on.

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 19, 2014

    Near-death experience is a result of conscious subconscious minds merging.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Aug 19, 2014

    @Marcus

    Allow me to ask this relatively simply question: Do we agree that parapsychology includes the the following; near-death experiences, reincarnation, apparitional experiences, apparitions, hauntings, and the physical aspects of Spiritualism such as table-tilting, materialization and apportation."
    This is a simply yes or no question. Yes? or No?

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 19, 2014

    Why are looking for answers to these questions when you don't even really know your self?

    Positively distracting question: Is something else more worthy of knowing? Perhaps, your whole self?

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 19, 2014

    "To return to your original statement, "most parapsychologists do not see psi as something spiritual," is still false, due to the at that it does not say, most parapsychologists "in THE SURVEY" do not see psi as something spiritual. This is the only way the statement is true."

    Considering it was taken at the parapsychological convention, and parapsychologists aren't a large bunch, it isn't unreasonable to assume that this applies to most of the researchers. However, I see your point about the 'believers', as in, those who aren't researchers but follow the research.

    "If you continue to claim that "most parapsychologists do not see psi as something spiritual," you will end to provide a lot more evidence beside this survey. Correct?"

    Personally, I find you have moved the goal posts here, you first claim to want evidence, I provide some, you then say "I want more." Well the study he conducted was a repeat of another one done earlier on parapsychologists, and the results were pretty much the same. Second of all, you are the one claiming that parapsychologists are mostly spiritual. This is patently false, even in the more notable ones. Radin, for instance, does not find the survival evidence at all convincing. Daryl Bem is an agnostic, Dick Bierman is an atheist, as is Michael Persinger. Roger Nelson, too seems hardly the spiritual type judging by his interviews. The authors of the paper RE: wiseman I provided are both atheist or agnostic.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Aug 19, 2014

    re: most parapsychologist

    We are talking about two different things here.

    Your claim is: "The survey conducted by the author I cited showed that the bast majority were not 'spiritualist' judging by the fact less than a quarter believed in survival of consciousness"

    My claim is that parapsychologist include " near-death experiences, reincarnation, apparitional experiences," etc.

    To return to your original statement, "most parapsychologists do not see psi as something spiritual," is still false, due to the at that it does not say, most parapsychologists "in THE SURVEY" do not see psi as something spiritual. This is the only way the statement is true.

    But let's now return to my statement, "The fact is most (believers in Psi) need it (Psi) to exist to support their foundational belief of dualism and a spiritual future after death." This is supported by the inclusion of near-death experiences, reincarnation, apparitional experiences," etc. as a part of parapsychology.
    It was clear from the beginning that I was not addressing "the survey," so to misunderstand this seems to me disingenuous.

    If you continue to claim that "most parapsychologists do not see psi as something spiritual," you will end to provide a lot more evidence beside this survey. Correct?

    BTW, how many were participating in the survey?

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 19, 2014

    "If you intend to ask this claim I will need to see some supporting evidence, otherwise your statement must be prefaced by the qualifier, "I believe/think" most parapsychologists do not see psi as something spiritual.

    While I'll accept that you are not addressing spiritualism in this discussion, there is no evidence that support "most" and I reject it as false."

    What do you mean no evidence? The survey conducted by the author I cited showed that the bast majority were not 'spiritualist' judging by the fact less than a quarter believed in survival of consciousness. I've provided evidence in the form of citation, here it is Again:

    Moreover, less than a quarter agreed with the following "consciousness continues in some form after death and includes memory and the retention of a sense of self" (Volk, 2011) I can email you the book I got this from to prove I have not made it up on the spot.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Aug 19, 2014

    Re: most parapsychologists do not see psi as something spiritual,

    What are you including in the term "parapsychology?"

    " Parapsychologists study telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, near-death experiences, reincarnation, apparitional experiences, and other supernatural and paranormal claims," as well as "apparitions, hauntings, and the physical aspects of Spiritualism such as table-tilting, materialization and apportation."

    Look at the discussion board here and one will see that "spiritualism" is at the heart of "most" of these discussions.

    If you intend to ask this claim I will need to see some supporting evidence, otherwise your statement must be prefaced by the qualifier, "I believe/think" most parapsychologists do not see psi as something spiritual.

    While I'll accept that you are not addressing spiritualism in this discussion, there is no evidence that support "most" and I reject it as false.

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 19, 2014

    @ Noetpoet pt. 4

    "Why?" [regarding Dennett) The denial of qualia is silly, quite frankly. Yes, as you've said, we can block pain. But you were to be stabbed in the hand, would you say that your experience of pain isn't real? Likewise, those thousands of soldiers who come back from war, traumatised. Would you say that their subjective experience of war was an illusion? That their PTSD isn't real?

    @dust

    "My point about dualism is an either or statement; there is a belief in a "something else" that includes some spirit essence.
    Psi is not new and your comment is the most recent take on what is rooted is dualism/spiritualism"

    I have just shown you point blank that most parapsychologists do not see psi as something spiritual, so why are your repeating the same thing?

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 19, 2014

    @Noet pt 3.

    "In 2003, French sociologist compared ten markers of good science with the work of parapsychologists. Her aim was to see whether psi researchers really are practicing pseudoscience. She defined a real scientist as one who uses quantitative data, seeks empirical confirmation or discomfirmation, looks for correlations, relies on logic, proposes and tries new hypotheses, admits gaps in the current database, and is consistent with scientific work in other fields. She then reviewed the work in four 'fringe journals studying the paranormal and found them to be rigorously consistent in employing methods of good science. In fact, when comparing the fringe journals to mainstream journals in physics, psychology, and optics, she found no qualitative difference between them"

    Moreover, "parapsychologists regularly publish "null" results-studies in which no evidence of psi is found-the mainstream journals Mousseau studied published nothing but confirmatory data" (volk, 2011)

    I will happily email you the book that I got this from. But in any case, your accusations are simply false.

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 19, 2014

    @ Noet pt 2.

    Moreover "during this period in the late 1970s and early 80s, this back and forth between the skeptical community and parapsychologists was so robust it became a study of its own. Using the conflict between skeptics and parapsychologists as a lens, sociologists began research into how science is conducted, not in its idealised form, but in reality....The sociologists involved never took a side on the issue of psi itself. But in meditating the debate, they described the skeptics as unruly and largely unscientific" In an interview with the author who interviewed one of the sociologists involved, "he told me his findings surprised him. Initially he suspected the accusations levelled by skeptics were correct; parapsychologists, as they were known, were somehow self-decieved. employing shoddy controls on their experiments or committing outright fraud. What he found was the exact opposite: psi researchers took the skeptics seriously, conducting experiments according to methodology that kept pace with the most rigorous of physical sciences" (Volk 2011)

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 19, 2014

    "It's a very relevant point Marcus. What of substance have the parapsychologists ever produced? All they do is play statistical games, abusing both statistical methods and new technologies - none of which came from parapsychological research of course - so they can find refuge for their vague preconceived ideas ever-dwindling statistical shadows."

    Continued false accusation of them fudging the results doesn't make it true, sorry. You'll have to do better than that.

    "I looked through the transcript and I couldn’t find where she says that. Can you quote the part of the interview where she actually says that?"

    "I mean initially, I didn’t want to do this interview because I’m not a researcher in the field and I’m not up to date with the work. I’m not the right person for you to talk to. And then you said, “Well, people still refer to your work so if you want to talk to me,” and to me, to let me talk as honestly as I am, I am ignorant about quite a lot of what has gone on in the past 15 years. Let me say one more thing. Why I couldn’t face reading it has nothing to do with something to do with the content because I don’t know what the content is."

    There you go, pretty clear that she hasn't kept up to date with the literature. In her own words "I'm ignorant about quite a lot of what has gone on in the past 15 years"

    "And yet the vast majority of the scientific community remain utterly unconvinced"

    Irrelevant, there were a lot of fringe sciences that were like this before. "

    "Just because it’s extensive doesn’t mean it’s done right. Just as parapsychologists have widened their own goalposts over the decades (e.g. looking for “micro PK”), they have also gotten cagier about making it look like they’re being rigorous."

    From Volk (2011) "[skeptics] have insisted for decades that parapsychologists must employ tighter and tighter controls on their studies-to eliminate the obvious possibilities like fraud, and more subtle ones like sensory leakage, in response the parapsychologists have increased the rigor of their methodology"

  • NoetPoet Aug 18, 2014

    Dustproduction said:

    "But really, this all amounts to high hill of nothing. We would't be discussing this if there was conclusive evidence. PSI has NEVER resulted in a combustion engine or a computer."

    Marcus replied:

    "This is an irrelevant point, and says nothing about its existence or lack thereof."

    It's a very relevant point Marcus. What of substance have the parapsychologists ever produced? All they do is play statistical games, abusing both statistical methods and new technologies - none of which came from parapsychological research of course - so they can find refuge for their vague preconceived ideas ever-dwindling statistical shadows.

  • NoetPoet Aug 18, 2014

    @Marcus (1 of 2)

    “I have always known she was a skeptic”

    Then why did you cite her? Did you think I wouldn’t know about her?

    “You have also glossed over the fact that she has not been involved in research for decades, has admitted that she can't really comment on it now. See the interview transcript for this I sent.”

    I looked through the transcript and I couldn’t find where she says that. Can you quote the part of the interview where she actually says that?

    “I'm sorry, but basically labelling it as shoddy is just wrong. Double blinding is extensive is parapsychology as one of the articles cited shows.”

    And yet the vast majority of the scientific community remain utterly unconvinced. Just because it’s extensive doesn’t mean it’s done right. Just as parapsychologists have widened their own goalposts over the decades (e.g. looking for “micro PK”), they have also gotten cagier about making it look like they’re being rigorous.

    “This has been documented in experiments ran jointly with Wiseman and Schlitz. The former got positive results, the latter negative. I don't know what the reasoning behind this experimenter effect is though, but it is something that has been demonstrated before, and needs to be repeated obviously.”

    If psi is real, it should show up in a properly constructed experiment *regardless* of the personal beliefs of the researchers. The reason for this experimenter effect, as I stated, is that parapsychologists have a major case of psychology of previous investment in the idea that psi is real, and they will do things both consciously and unconsciously to confirm what they clearly WANT to believe. Here’s an idea for test which could overcome any experimenter effect: set up an experiment which requires subjects to move a small paperclip even one millimetre using willpower alone. That’s all I’m asking: nudge a small paperclip by just *one millimetre* using nothing but psi.

    “If meta-analyses show something, that needs to be taken seriously. Moreover your criticism of combining studies to get an effect doesn't hold water.”

    It does if you take a closer look at how Radin used a bunch of unimpressive studies to give a seemingly impressive meta-analysis result.

  • NoetPoet Aug 18, 2014

    @Marcus (2 of 2)

    “That continued analyses continue to show something, something that isn't declining is interesting.”

    Perhaps, but not necessarily for the reason that you have in mind.

    “If there was no effect, the combined analyses would gradually fade into nothing, that is how statistics work as far as I'm aware.”

    Then you don’t appreciate the kind of machinations that can go on in both individual studies and meta-analyses. Mark Twain’s quote about “lies, damned lies, and statistics” comes to mind here. Besides, isn’t the effect pretty damn small as it is? Once again, how close do you have to get to zero before you’re effectively at zero? And how do you know you even have the effect that you think you have when you *haven’t even proposed a testable mechanism* for it?

    “That is yours and Dennett's opinion, with which I wholeheartedly disagree with!”

    Why?

    “It says that consciousness is part of reality, from human brains down to atoms.”

    So how do you define consciousness, and are there any experiments which test whether atoms satisfy this definition of consciousness?

    “Read Strawson's paper, he says consciousness is physical, and being a panpsychist/neutral monist, so do I. “

    I’ll read it when I get the chance. I have to say though that panpsychism sounds an awful lot like animism or pantheism, even if you assert that consciousness is “physical”. It also sounds like it’s based on an Argument from Incredulity.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Aug 18, 2014

    So Marcus, just to clear up this simply point. are we saying that;
    1) this ability has existed in humankind since forgive
    2) that it is an ability that everyone has
    3) that it produces virtually little detectable benefit

    My point about dualism is an either or statement; there is a belief in a "something else" that includes some spirit essence.
    Psi is not new and your comment is the most recent take on what is rooted is dualism/spiritualism

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 18, 2014

    Most certainly kind sir!

    I am talking about the article that dustproduction so kindly referenced:
    http://www.richardwiseman.com/resources/twominds.pdf

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 18, 2014

    "Is it possible there is a third mind that is the sum of the other two minds? And is it possible there is a 4th mind that is the sum of all 3rd minds in the universe?"

    May I ask what you are talking about?

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 18, 2014

    "But really, this all amounts to high hill of nothing. We would't be discussing this if there was conclusive evidence. PSI has NEVER resulted in a combustion engine or a computer."

    This is an irrelevant point, and says nothing about its existence or lack thereof.

    "The fact is most need it to exist to support their foundational belief of dualism and a spiritual future after death."

    This statement is simply wrong. Most parapsychologists are not dualists. In fact Radin himself has said he is something of a panpsychist.
    Moreover, Steve Volk, in his book fringeology, conducted an anonymous survey, and found that far from being spiritualists "less than a third of respondents...agreed strongly with the statement "The results of parapsychological research clearly indicate that there is a non-material basis of life or thought.

    Moreover, less than a quarter agreed with the following "consciousness continues in some form after death and includes memory and the retention of a sense of self" (Volk, 2011) (I can email you the PDF of the book if you want) So you are flat out wrong about parapsychologists in this case.

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 18, 2014

    May I ask something:

    Is it possible there is a third mind that is the sum of the other two minds? And is it possible there is a 4th mind that is the sum of all 3rd minds in the universe?

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Aug 18, 2014

    Perhaps this is the Wiseman paper w should be discussing:

    http://www.richardwiseman.com/resources/twominds.pdf

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Aug 18, 2014

    I'll have some time later today to read the BAPTISTA/DERAKHSHAN paper.
    I also googled "Richard Wiseman in his 2010 paper, Heads I Win, Tails You Lose; How Parapsychologists Nullify Null Results."
    There is no shortage of things to review there.

    But really, this all amounts to high hill of nothing. We would't be discussing this if there was conclusive evidence. PSI has NEVER resulted in a combustion engine or a computer. "Science" are repeatedly scolded here for not having an open-mind regarding Psi, but as the psychologist James Alcock put it parapsychologists never seem to take seriously the possibility that Psi does not exist. (double standard?)
    The fact is most need it to exist to support their foundational belief of dualism and a spiritual future after death.

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 18, 2014


    @noetpoet pt. 2

    "So it says that consciousness is intrinsic to the universe, just not *human* consciousness? Again it's not clear if you mean that consciousness exists as a potential within nature or as some sort of actual primordial element of reality."

    It says that consciousness is part of reality, from human brains down to atoms. To quote Freeman Dyson: "It is remarkable that mind enters into our awareness of nature on two separate levels. At the highest level, the level of human consciousness, our minds are somehow directly aware of the complicated flow of electrical and chemical patterns in our brains. At the lowest level, the level of single atoms and electrons"

    "it's not as hard as the problem of explaining how a non-material consciousness interacts with a material brain!"

    Read Strawson's paper, he says consciousness is physical, and being a panpsychist/neutral monist, so do I.
    I do not think consciousness as some sort of 'spiritual' 'non-material' entity at all. Panpsychism is literally an expanded form of materialism/physicalism.

    @dustinproduction

    My apologies, I withdraw my previous statement accusing you.

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 18, 2014

    "How quickly and thoroughly you have turned on her since I pointed out that she later became a skeptic"

    I have always known she was a skeptic, perhaps I didn't make it clear. You have also glossed over the fact that she has not been involved in research for decades, has admitted that she can't really comment on it now. See the interview transcript for this I sent.

    "considering how consistently parapsychologists have been willing to promote shoddy research"

    I'm sorry, but basically labelling it as shoddy is just wrong. Double blinding is extensive is parapsychology as one of the articles cited shows. Moreover, the Ganzfeld today uses metric for match, random distribution of samples, and frequency matching. This is hardly the work of a poor experimental design. You are just wrong here.

    "Ah, the negative skeptic vibes defence! It seems curious that the doubt of a sceptical researcher (who presumably doesn’t have any notable psychic ability of her own) can overpower a psychically attuned subject. The author should be careful, as it sounds like they are getting dangerously close to proposing a testable mechanism for psi! I also wonder if the author realizes the dubious implications of suggesting that a researcher should be believer before the experiment"

    This has been documented in experiments ran jointly with Wiseman and Schlitz. The former got positive results, the latter negative. I don't know what the reasoning behind this experimenter effect is though, but it is something that has been demonstrated before, and needs to be repeated obviously.

    "good old meta-analysis to the rescue"

    If meta-analyses show something, that needs to be taken seriously. Moreover your criticism of combining studies to get an effect doesn't hold water. That continued analyses continue to show something, something that isn't declining is interesting. If there was no effect, the combined analyses would gradually fade into nothing, that is how statistics work as far as I'm aware. But there is a small effect. Check the most recent one in psychological bulletin as an example of this.

    "Are you talking about qualia? That's not a hard problem, it's an invented problem"

    That is yours and Dennett's opinion, with which I wholeheartedly disagree with!

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Aug 18, 2014

    Re: "have the courtesy to address me directly."

    Don't get your ego in a knot Marcus.
    Where do you think was I addressing you?

    @Noet Poet

    This may be the author and the source.

    http://archived.parapsych.org/psiexplorer/blackmore_critique.htm

    It would seem sufficient to say that "flaws" aside, little this come from this line of research since 1989.

  • NoetPoet Aug 18, 2014

    HI dustproduction,

    "I've been reading the thread here and you have done a masterful job at responding to the comments of others. Have you read the earlier comments from 2010 on this thread?"

    Thank you for the encouragement :) I haven't read the earlier comments but I'm not surprised that they contain more of the same ol' same ol'. I think that the scientific standards of IONS are partly responsible for this board's chronic tendency to attract assertionist, self-righteous, anti-science types who equate their own opinions with the truth.

    Can you please have a look at paper Marcus posted (http://willamette.academia.edu/JohannBaptista ) and share your thoughts?

    In the interests of getting this thread back on topic, I plan to post an explanation of how traditional yogic powers can be explained in terms that are compatible with modern science.

  • NoetPoet Aug 18, 2014

    "@Noetpoet. Panpsychism doesn't state that human consciousness is intrinsic to the universe, rather that there is a continuum of sentience throughout nature, and that humans are simply on that continuum."

    So it says that consciousness is intrinsic to the universe, just not *human* consciousness? Again it's not clear if you mean that consciousness exists as a potential within nature or as some sort of actual primordial element of reality.

    "Because it denies there's even a hard problem,"

    Hard problem? What hard problem? Are you talking about qualia? That's not a hard problem, it's an invented problem. And it's not as hard as the problem of explaining how a non-material consciousness interacts with a material brain!

    "Consciousness exists, we know it does."

    So what is it then? I suggest that it is a convenient catch-all term to describe an immensely complex and rapid interplay of sensation, cognition, and memory (especially short term moment-to-moment memory).

    "Conscious experiences are real. Pain for example is certainly real. Calling it an illusion, a simple conjuring trick is simply silly, at least in my mind."

    Have you not read the neuroscientific research which shows that feeling of pain is produced by the brain and not by the injury or sickness itself, and that the brain can simply switch off the pain under the right conditions? Can something not be "real" but also ultimately illusory, e.g. like a rainbow? I said it to SufferingServant and I'll say it to you: just because it feels real doesn't mean it IS real!

  • NoetPoet Aug 18, 2014

    @Marcus (1 of 2)
    “@noet poet: Blackmore herself was criticised http://archived.parapsych.org/psiexplorer/blackmore_critique.htm”

    Since you’ve already given me a hefty reading list, I’m just going to comment on the conclusion of this article. (Once again I will draw attention to the fact that it was you who initially cited Blackmore in support of your argument. How quickly and thoroughly you have turned on her since I pointed out that she later became a skeptic!)

    From the article’s conlusion:

    “After some period of time spent in attempting to become “a famous parapsychologist” (Blackmore, 1986, p. 163) and believing that she had failed to do so, Blackmore’s attitude toward the reality of psi moved from “closed belief to closed disbelief” (Blackmore, 1987, p. 249).”

    Wow, this doesn’t read like a bilious character assassination at all!

    “Much of Blackmore’s work is considered flawed by her own self-assessment. Serious discrepancies were found between the unpublished dissertation experiments and subsequent published journal reports.”

    Yes, and Blackmore has made it quite clear that flawed work was widespread in in the field of parapsychology.

    “The claim of “ten years of psi research” actually represents a series of hastily constructed, executed, and reported studies that were primarily conducted during a 2-year period. Prior to the end of this period, she had moved to “closed disbelief.” Her other “research” consists primarily of informal hypothesis testing and cursory examination of areas that do not (or may not) directly assess the psi hypothesis at all (e.g., mystical experiences, ghosts, poltergeists, out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, and apparitions).”

    Whoever wrote this should really consider applying for a job at Fox News, they’d be a shoe-in! So are we to believe that Blackmore wasn’t studying the psi research of others during this 10 year period? And that suddenly OBEs, mystical experiences, ghosts etc have no relationship to psi? How convenient, especially when we consider the lack of clarity even within parapsychology about what constitutes “psi” and how different types of “psI” are distinguished from one and other.
    “She has admitted that she “assumed that all these odd and inexplicable things . . . were related and that one explanation would do for all” (Blackmore, 1987, p. 245). “
    And other parapsychologists *don’t* do this?

    “For any conclusions to be drawn regarding the presence or absence of psi effects in her database, a serious meta-analysis with weighting of each study for flaws would be necessary.”

    Ah, good old meta-analysis to the rescue! Tell me, who decides what the “flaws” are and how are they to be weighted?

  • NoetPoet Aug 18, 2014

    @Marcus (2 of 2)

    “That many of the studies in this database may have insufficient statistical power to detect small effects and were not designed with sufficient intention to optimize the detection of psi can only serve to bias any informal meta-analysis toward a nonsignificant outcome.”

    In other words, let’s cover our butts just in case our tool of choice doesn’t come through with the goods. And what’s this business about “sufficient intention to optimize the detection of psi”? Has the author never heard of confirmation bias? It’s also intriguing that the author talks about “small” psi effects which require a lot of “statistical power” to detect: how close to zero do you have to be before you’re effectively at zero?

    “Research into “experimenter expectancy” effects and “demand characteristics” suggests that, from a social psychological perspective, she may have influenced her subjects to perform in a manner consistent with her “no psi” hypothesis.”

    Ah, the negative skeptic vibes defence! It seems curious that the doubt of a sceptical researcher (who presumably doesn’t have any notable psychic ability of her own) can overpower a psychically attuned subject. The author should be careful, as it sounds like they are getting dangerously close to proposing a testable mechanism for psi! I also wonder if the author realizes the dubious implications of suggesting that a researcher should be believer before the experiment has even commenced. Perhaps the author has never heard of “begging the question” either?

    “Even if such studies had yielded significance, it is clear that such outcomes by now would have been scrutinized and dismissed by skeptics and proponents alike because of their experimental flaws and the haphazard conceptualization and execution of these studies.”

    They probably would have been debunked *and then* dismissed by skeptics, but proponents as well? I doubt it, considering how consistently parapsychologists have been willing to promote shoddy research. Obviously skeptics wouldn't have needed to critique Blackmore’s negative results, but that’s beside the point. The point is that Blackmore herself admitted that not only her parapsychology experiments were flawed, but that parapsychology experiments in general are flawed. Whether those flawed experiments give statistically significant results or not is beside the point: it’s junk science all the same.

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 18, 2014

    "How is it better to call it an illusion?" Because it denies there's even a hard problem, it denies what is axiomatic. Consciousness exists, we know it does. Conscious experiences are real. Pain for example is certainly real. Calling it an illusion, a simple conjuring trick is simply silly, at least in my mind.

    RE: Neutral Monism, this was something proposed Russell who in turn was influenced by Whitehead and Eddington. Through this theory material and mental are ways of organising the same thing.

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 18, 2014

    @Noetpoet. Panpsychism doesn't state that human consciousness is intrinsic to the universe, rather that there is a continuum of sentience throughout nature, and that humans are simply on that continuum.

  • NoetPoet Aug 18, 2014

    @Marcus (1 of 3)
    “This seems to be more of an assertion you are making”

    It’s not an assertion, I already elaborated on how parapsychologists misuse meta-analyses. More importantly, I highlighted the fact that this useless insistence on meta-analyses in parapsychology is being done in lieu of actual scientific research which might actually yield something useful.

    “Lack of proposed mechanism should not trump data”

    Without a proposed mechanism the data is meaningless: you could just as easily propose that psi effects are actually due to tiny little elves moving information around so fast that as to be undetectable, and it would be no less plausible than the idea that some sort of psychic influence is at play. So long as you don’t have a plausible testable mechanism to explain *how* psi works, i.e. one that could offer *greater explanatory power for the observed data* than any other possibility, then all you are doing is speculating. Repeat after me: correlation does not equal causation!

    An example:
    Suppose we set up an experiment to see if people could cause traffic lights to change colour using nothing but willpower. Suppose also that - as is typical of parapsychologists - we don’t propose a mechanism beforehand for how willpower acts on the traffic light, let alone incorporate the testing of such a mechanism in our experimental setup. So we don’t set up apparatus to monitor subjects’ brain activity, transmission of EM radiation between subject and traffic light, or do anything else to test for a mechanism of any kind.

    We might observe a statistically significant positive correlation between observed changes in traffic lights and subjects’ mental commands, but does that mean that we have solid evidence that people can change traffic lights using nothing but their minds? Of course not! For one thing traffic lights change colour all the time, and this makes it easy for both researchers and subjects to rationalise that some traffic lights sometimes take longer to change than others owing to some post-hoc and untested reason (e.g. the subject was tired, wasn’t “in the zone”, or their powers were dampened by ‘negative vibes’ of nearby skeptics). Furthermore, if the subjects are able to choose when they start and stop willing lights to change, then it opens up the possibility that they can unconsciously 1) pick up on patterns in the frequency of light changes and then 2) time their efforts to coincide with these patterns. Then there’s the issue that the changes in traffic lights may be – or indeed ARE – due to a whole other mechanism which has nothing to do with the subject’s intent. And that’s all before you get to the stage where the researchers – who, being *para*psychologists, have staked their whole careers, reputations, and very sense of self-worth on the pre-conceived notion that psi DOES exist – can use statistical skulduggery and careful framing to embellish the results.

  • NoetPoet Aug 18, 2014

    @Marcus (2 of 3)
    “RE: double blinding, and what really plays into your point about poor methodology, parapsych has some of the highest levels of blinding http://www.koestler-parapsychology.psy.ed.ac.uk/cwatt/Documents/WattJSPR.pdf The paper I sent you also discusses methodology.”

    I will look into it and get back to you. You’ve already given me quite a bit of reading material as it is.

    “You cite Susan Blackmore, yet in other interviews she essentially says she can make no comment as she hasn't been working in the field for decades: http://www.skeptiko.com/near-death-experience-skeptic-dr-susan-blackmore-responds-to-critics/”

    You were the one who initially cited Susan Blackmore, referring to a pro-parapsychology comment she made about 30 years ago and then contradicted later on. In the link above (an interview in 2010), she says that the still keeps in contact with people in the field, that she still hears about seemingly promising experiments occasionally, and that if there were something truly compelling to come out of the field since she left it then she would most likely know about it and reconsider her scepticism.

    "experiments which involve using visualisation to manipulate unobserved quantum systems – an idea which is not even remotely supported by quantum theory – or (allegedly) Random Number Generators are just not going to cut it."

    “This is your assertion though, your criterion for should count.”

    What part of it is assertion? Saying that it doesn’t cut it is a perfectly fair comment. Hiding behind electronic “random” number generators and quantum physics is not good enough, simple as that. Like I said, I would be impressed if parapsychologists could produce a rigorous and repeatable demonstration that someone could so much as nudge a paperclip few millimetres using nothing but mind power. Of course they don’t dare try to do that, for the same reason that they don’t dare propose a testable mechanism for psi: because they know they wouldn’t be able to come up with anything that could withstand testing.

  • NoetPoet Aug 18, 2014

    @Marcus (3 of 3)
    “Are you en expert in quantum theory or physics?”

    There are several interpretation of quantum physics with currency amongst the physics community. One of these, the Copenhagen Interpretation, says that observation collapses subatomic wave functions into particles. Within this interpretation, there is a sub-interpretation which says that a *conscious* observer is required to collapse wave functions. But even this generous sub-interpretation doesn’t support the notion that merely visualising a quantum system will cause wave functions to collapse. Moreover, the Copenhagen Interpretation is quite clear that observation collapses wave functions in a *random* manner, i.e. there is zero scope for consciously controlling or predicting how collapse will occur.

    “RE: your comments on consciousness. I find it a reasonable philosophy because its better than simply explaining it away by saying consciousness is an illusion.”

    How is it better? I hardly think that saying consciousness an illusion is explaining it away. If anything it makes a whole lot of sense. I myself think that what we call “consciousness” is a bit like a cross between the illusion of moving pictures on a movie projector and the illusion of an infinite hallway of parallel universes that occurs when two mirrors face each other.

    “These are a couple of papers on the matter that interest me”

    I’ll have a look into those too…on top of everything else.

  • NoetPoet Aug 18, 2014

    @SufferingServant

    "Ah, but I am a scientist."

    What's your tertiary qualifications and where did you get them?

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 18, 2014

    @noet poet: Blackmore herself was criticised http://archived.parapsych.org/psiexplorer/blackmore_critique.htm

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 18, 2014

    If you're going to be passive aggressive and pithy dustinproduction, have the courtesy to address me directly.

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 18, 2014

    "I’m attacking the *misuse* of them." This seems to be more of an assertion you are making

    "Where is the mechanism?"

    Lack of proposed mechanism should not trump data

    RE: double blinding, and what really plays into your point about poor methodology, parapsych has some of the highest levels of blinding http://www.koestler-parapsychology.psy.ed.ac.uk/cwatt/Documents/WattJSPR.pdf The paper I sent you also discusses methodology.

    "Well if they do then it’s not at all evident from the writings of people like Radin." (again, read the paper I sent you)

    You cite Susan Blackmore, yet in other interviews she essentially says she can make no comment as she hasn't been working in the field for decades: http://www.skeptiko.com/near-death-experience-skeptic-dr-susan-blackmore-responds-to-critics/

    "experiments which involve using visualisation to manipulate unobserved quantum systems – an idea which is not even remotely supported by quantum theory – or (allegedly) Random Number Generators are just not going to cut it."

    This is your assertion though, your criterion for should count.

    "not supported by quantum theory" are you en expert in quantum theory or physics?

    RE: your comments on consciousness. I find it a reasonable philosophy because its better than simply explaining it away by saying consciousness is an illusion.

    These are a couple of papers on the matter that interest me:

    http://www.yujinnagasawa.com/resources/Russellian.pdf
    http://consc.net/papers/nature.pdf

    http://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Consciousness_and_its_place_in_nature.html?id=W0oNAQAAMAAJ

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 18, 2014

    Ah, but I am a scientist.

    Perhaps you should read the many of the greatest scientific minds have said. Particularly Einstein, unless you believe you are more intelligent than he.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Aug 18, 2014

    @ Noetic Poet

    I've been reading the thread here and you have done a masterful job at responding to the comments of others. Have you read the earlier comments from 2010 on this thread?

    Long story short, its the same, old same old; Bash science, express your beliefs, and no real proof. The newer commenters ignore all this and continue to reinvent "belief." as if it were the wheel.

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 18, 2014

    Btw, if the Easter Bunny doesn't exist (though is a complete useless lie that should not exist) how are we discussing it?

    How can something that does not exist be a topic for discussion?

    Looking forward to seeing your logic, Masterful One.

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 17, 2014

    I don't need help, but thanks for the suggestion.

    Again, back to a quote based on one of Einstein's sayings:

    "True genius has often been misconstrued as insanity by morons"

  • NoetPoet Aug 17, 2014

    @SufferingServant

    Please seek out the help you need if you haven't yet done so. You know what I'm talking about.

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 17, 2014

    How about this analogy for you:

    *hands you a cup full of water*

    This cup represents everything you know about yourself.

    *pulls out the Holy Grail full of wine*

    *tries to pour my wine into your cup*

    Your cup is full to the top! When I try to fill it for you, it spills over to the ground.. And is wasted.

    Before I can fill your cup, you must dump out your cup. But, no need to dump it onto the ground.

    *hands you a zip lock bag*

    Sir, if you dump your water into the baggy, you can dump out my wine if it doesn't fit your fancy. Then you can add your water back!

    By the way, my holy grail never runs out. It is endlessly filled with my wine.

    I will hold my cup over yours, dumping my wine into yours until either I die or you drop the cup. Will you let my wine continue to spill out onto the ground and be wasted?

    But don't worry! I will catch it before it hits the ground. Then I will fill it for you, so you may taste it. My wine represents supreme love and unending knowledfe/wisdom.

    How does it taste?

  • NoetPoet Aug 17, 2014

    @SufferingServant
    “By the way.. The Easter bunny does exists, but it's a complete lie (not a partial truth or half truth). As far as I know it isn't even a metaphor for anything. “

    How does the Easter Bunny exist? As a figment of collective imagination? If you look into it I think you’ll find that the Easter Bunny is metaphorical in origin…

    “Thoughts are real. Manifestation of those thoughts are real. Stories are real”

    Thoughts are real *as thoughts*. Stories are real *as stories*. Manifestation of thoughts in the external physical world only occurs under certain conditions e.g. when the laws of physics permit it.

  • NoetPoet Aug 17, 2014

    @SufferingServant (1 of 2)
    “In time, the blind will see and the deaf will hear. “
    More baseless assertion. Whatever…

    “Do the followers of Buddha (not all, obviously) not contradict themselves by not teaching what they have learned, as Buddha did?”

    Not sure what you’re driving at here. Once again, take it up with the Buddhists.

    “I see the 'Ultimate Truth',”

    Really? What does it look like then? How do you know that what you’re seeing actually is “Ultimate Truth” and not your preconception of “Ultimate Truth”?

    “In my mind the concept of reincarnation is 'to be reborn into another body after the death of the physical body'. This is true, but only partially true as are all of my words.”

    All you have done here is offered another baseless assertion. I asked you *how* you can *logically* make sense of it. In other words, show me your analysis.

    “I do not need to examine the specifics of their specific philosophy to know the fundamental concept is true.”

    I reckon you wouldn’t say that if you actually knew something about the Buddhist view of rebirth. For example, did you know that the Buddhist version of rebirth doesn’t require a soul or consciousness to move from one body to another?

    “Are you suggesting that Nirvana is the death of self? Well, if that is true I would be providing you a shortcut by killing you or handing you a knife so you may kill yourself, correct?”

    Technically no, because according to Buddhism there isn’t really a self to begin with. Nirvana happens when the *illusion of self* is completely seen through and consequently discarded. But I will grant you that the original Buddhist notion of Nirvana does look very much like the “materialist” version of death. In fact this is actually one of the reasons I stopped being a Buddhist.

    “Are you familiar with theory of mind? This is the moment we realize we our an individual mind and this is when our 'self' is created, and this is typically years after we are born.”

    Yes I am familiar with this, except that this process occurs incrementally over many years of a child’s development and it is not so much a “realization” that one is an individual mind but a useful conceptual expedient which allows humans to interact with the world more effectively. Look a bit closer though and you can see how the sense of separateness and selfhood is illusory: our thinking processes, values, beliefs, memories, attitudes etc both ultimately come from and are continually shaped by our environment. Also, are you aware that saying that ‘self’ is created years after birth directly contradicts your claim that the self exists prior to consciousness?

  • NoetPoet Aug 17, 2014

    @SufferingServant (2 of 2)
    “We are individuals within a hive mind essentially, and 'God' is the figurative unseen Queen whose mind we can't comprehend, as we are an individual within it.”

    I agree to a point with the first part of that statement, but you do realize that the Queen’s mind is not the same as the hive mind? And if God is unseen and incomprehensible, then how can we even claim that it’s there??

    “God is the 'collective subconscious' (including plants and animals), and is self-aware.”

    Where’s the evidence for this claim?

    “When we conclude 'I am me' we are creating our ego essentially, and likewise our sense of self - this is the root of all evil in the form of selfishness. “

    It’s also the thing which gives us the motivation to survive, procreate, build, progress, and understand reality.

    “If I didn't already make this clear for you with my 'opinion' to the others questions, let me know. “

    You didn’t make it clear.

    “Actually I don't 'feel it'. I 'know' it. And because I know it, it is in fact reality.”

    How do you know it is a fact of reality? Because you can feel it ‘in your heart’? Do you realize that it’s possible to manipulate the brain so that you feel *absolutely convinced*that someone is staring at you even when there is no one there, or that your closest loved ones are strangers disguised as loved ones? Just because it *feels* true doesn’t mean it is.

    “I will illuminate all darkness. If they have eyes and ears, they will see. If they require debate, I am of course wide open to that!”

    Good, make sure you bring logic and evidence to back yourself up.

    “With Stephan why would he be studying something if he already understood it? “

    Indeed! Ditto for the Dalai Lama.

    “I love the guy, so if he would like to discuss I am more than happy to serve him in discussion. “

    And I’m sure he’d LOVE to hear your thoughts…

  • NoetPoet Aug 17, 2014

    @Marcus
    “Well I am something of a panpsychist/neutral monist. It gives something like intrinsic consciousness that does not clash with the tonnes of neuroscience evidence that shows our personalities, sense of self etc. are created by the brain.”

    Such a position certainly sounds a lot more reasonable than many of the other ideas that tend to be promoted on these discussion boards. I’m not sure about this “intrinsic” consciousness” business though, it sounds suspiciously like a “consciousness of the gaps” hypothesis: you admit that the things we associate with consciousness (sense of self, personality etc.) are created by the brain, and yet consciousness itself is somehow a special exception to this rule? Didn’t people also used to think that things like sense of self and personality were also metaphysical in origin?

    If what you’re saying is that consciousness *as a potential* is a feature of reality, then yes I could agree with that. But then you could also say the same thing about anything else, e.g. diamonds, spider silk or even pogo sticks. The universe may give rise to consciousness under certain conditions, but saying that consciousness is therefore a fundamental aspect of reality makes no more sense than saying the same thing about diamonds, spider silk or pogo sticks.

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 17, 2014

    By the way.. The Easter bunny does exists, but it's a complete lie (not a partial truth or half truth). As far as I know it isn't even a metaphor for anything.

    But that brings up the question 'what is the Easter Bunny?'

    In short: it's a story to distract children away from truly understanding anything that is true about reality.

    Thoughts are real. Manifestation of those thoughts are real. Stories are real

    The question is, is it partially-true or half-truths or a complete lie?

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 17, 2014

    Whoops. Ignore that last one.

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 17, 2014

    G = (C = a + b)

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 17, 2014

    Alas, I have returned for you.

    To your 1st point:

    In time, the blind will see and the deaf will hear.

    Do the followers of Buddha (not all, obviously) not contradict themselves by not teaching what they have learned, as Buddha did?

    To your 2nd point:

    I see the 'Ultimate Truth', I do not need to examine a half truth in full to separate the lies from the partial truth in order to know it has lies/misconceptions.

    In my mind the concept of reincarnation is 'to be reborn into another body after the death of the physical body'. This is true, but only partially true as are all of my words. I do not need to examine the specifics of their specific philosophy to know the fundamental concept is true.

    To your 3rd point:

    Are you suggesting that Nirvana is the death of self? Well, if that is true I would be providing you a shortcut by killing you or handing you a knife so you may kill yourself, correct? (Note: I am not suggesting you kill your self)

    I most certainly do not have it backwards. You have it inside out but not what's behinds it.

    Are you familiar with theory of mind? This is the moment we realize we our an individual mind and this is when our 'self' is created, and this is typically years after we are born. In fact, this is when we fail our children by not teaching them the next step to 'theory of mind'. When we realize we are an individual mind we also accept this as true 'what is outside of us is not us', but this is actually false.

    Figuratively:

    We are individuals within a hive mind essentially, and 'God' is the figurative unseen Queen whose mind we can't comprehend, as we are an individual within it. We are all both part of the hive mind via our subconscious mind and also individuals via our conscious mind. God is the 'collective subconscious' (including plants and animals), and is self-aware. This goes back the the question/answer from the other thread that was a perceived paradox of merging self and the opposite, selflessness - and so 'selfish servant to others' or 'I am you; You are me'.

    When we conclude 'I am me' we are creating our ego essentially, and likewise our sense of self - this is the root of all evil in the form of selfishness.

    To your 4th point:

    If I didn't already make this clear for you with my 'opinion' to the others questions, let me know.

    To your 5th point:

    Actually I don't 'feel it'. I 'know' it. And because I know it, it is in fact reality.

    To your last point:

    I will illuminate all darkness. If they have eyes and ears, they will see. If they require debate, I am of course wide open to that!

    With Stephan why would he be studying something if he already understood it? I love the guy, so if he would like to discuss I am more than happy to serve him in discussion.


  • NoetPoet Aug 17, 2014

    @Marcus (1a of 4)
    “metanalyses are used in medical literature all the time. So attacking the use of them is just not legitimate”

    I’m not attacking the use of them, I’m attacking the *misuse* of them. Meta-analyses used in medicine tend to have the following features:
    *They do not combine statistically insignificant results from many experiments as if they were one single, controlled experiment
    *They do not equate meta-analysis with replication
    *They do not necessarily assume that what is expected from chance is what will be found in the real world
    *They tend to involve analysis of similar studies with similar tight controls, e.g. studies of one kind of drug only, not two or more kinds
    *The meaning of the data is very specific
    *They tend to use very high confidence intervals, so that there is minimal chance of fluke results
    *They are built on experiments which presuppose a testable mechanism for the alternative hypothesis.

    None of these features is found in parapsychology meta-analyses. However the most important difference between how mainstream sciences use meta-analyses and how parapsychology (mis)uses them is that unlike the latter, the former does not depend on meta-analysis to produce an inflated picture of their claims. Perhaps Radin et al should stop playing statistical games with meta-analysis and start doing some actual scientific investigation into *how* psi would work if it existed.

    “My question was have you read any of the papers on psi etc.”

    Yes I’ve read them, and I’m not impressed.

  • NoetPoet Aug 17, 2014

    @Marcus(1b of 4)

    "’The statistical departures from chance appear to be too large and consistent to attribute to statistical flukes of any sort...I tend to agree with Professor Utts that real effects are occurring in these experiments. Something other than chance departures from the null hypothesis has occurred in these experiments’ Hyman, R. (1996) Evaluation of a program on anomalous mental phenomena.”

    And yet according to his Wikipedia entry, Hyman currently serves on the Executive Council for the Committee of Skeptical Inquiry! How can this be??

    Let’s take a closer look the quote above. Hyman says that the statistical departures from chance “appear to be” too “large and consistent” to attribute to “statistical flukes of any sort.” He also agrees that “real effects are occurring” and that “something other than chance departures” is occurring in these experiments.

    Notice that *at no point* in this quote does Hyman attribute these “departures from chance” to psychic or paranormal phenomena. In fact, he doesn’t even *suggest* that. What Hyman is clearly hinting at here is that just because the results depart from chance, it doesn’t mean we can therefore attribute them to psi. There may be methodological errors and/or other more plausible explanations which have not been properly considered. And again I ask, as I’m sure Hyman also does:

    Where is the mechanism??

    If parapsychologists have not even put forward a testable mechanism to explain *how* psi works (i.e. produces significant departures from chance), then how can they possibly attribute their significant results to psi as opposed to anything else?

  • NoetPoet Aug 17, 2014

    @Marcus (2 of 4)
    “Regarding your lists of problems. Double blinding was in fact something pioneered by the field of parapsychology.”

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-blind_experiments :
    “The French Academy of Sciences originated the first recorded blind experiments in 1784: the Academy set up a commission to investigate the claims of animal magnetism proposed by Franz Mesmer. Headed by Benjamin Franklin and Antoine Lavoisier, the commission carried out experiments asking mesmerists to identify objects that had previously been filled with "vital fluid", including trees and flasks of water. The subjects were unable to do so.”
    …..
    “Double-blind describes an especially stringent way of conducting an experiment which attempts to eliminate subjective, unrecognized biases carried by an experiment's subjects and conductors. Often but not exclusively applied to experiments on human test subjects, first used by W. H. R. Rivers in the investigation of "war neurosis", better known as "shell shock".”

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parapsychology#History :
    “The Society for Psychical Research was founded in London in 1882…..Early clairvoyance experiments were reported in 1884 by Charles Richet.”

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._H._R._Rivers :
    “William Halse Rivers Rivers, FRCP, FRS, ((1864-03-12)12 March 1864 – 4 June 1922(1922-06-04)) was an English anthropologist, neurologist, ethnologist and psychiatrist, best known for his work treating World War I officers who were suffering from shell shock.”

  • NoetPoet Aug 17, 2014

    @Marcus(3 of 4)
    So the first blind experiment was set up by the French Scientific establishment more than 100 years before there was any such thing as a “parapsychologist”, and it disproved an alleged paranormal phenomena. The first double blind experiment was carried out by someone who had nothing to do with parapsychology in order to investigate something which has no associations with parapsychology.

    “Moreover, they actually encouraged the publishing of null results, unlike many other journals”

    Well if they do then it’s not at all evident from the writings of people like Radin.

    “This paper, describes as such and furthermore, addresses many of the flaws you believe you find in the field: http://willamette.academia.edu/JohannBaptista “

    That’s a long paper, so I’m going to have to take time to read it and get back to you.

    “Sorry, you clearly haven't looked at any of the data or papers if you're saying that, if you are bringing up the file drawer problem. “

    Yes I have looked at data and papers about this. I bring up the file-drawer problem in addition to many other problems, particularly in regards to the question of mechanism and assuming that correlation equals causation. Again, show me research which resolutely demonstrates that a person can move even a paperclip so much as one inch with their mind alone, and I will be impressed. In the meantime, experiments which involve using visualisation to manipulate unobserved quantum systems – an idea which is not even remotely supported by quantum theory – or (allegedly) Random Number Generators are just not going to cut it.

  • NoetPoet Aug 17, 2014

    @Marcus (4 of 4)

    “Susan Blackmore herself concluded that the file drawer effect was not a serious problem in parapsychology Blackmore, S. (1980) 'The extent of selective reporting of ESP ganzfeld studies'”

    The same Susan Blackmore who renounced parapsychology because, after decades of searching, she concluded that it had no basis in reality? From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Blackmore :

    “In a New Scientist article in 2000, she again wrote of this:

    “‘It was just over thirty years ago that I had the dramatic out-of-body experience that convinced me of the reality of psychic phenomena and launched me on a crusade to show those closed-minded scientists that consciousness could reach beyond the body and that death was not the end. Just a few years of careful experiments changed all that. I found no psychic phenomena - only wishful thinking, self-deception, experimental error and, occasionally, fraud. I became a sceptic.’[9][10]

    “In an article in The Observer on sleep paralysis Barbara Rowland wrote that Blackmore, “carried out a large study between 1996 and 1999 of 'paranormal' experiences, most of which clearly fell within the definition of sleep paralysis.”[11]

    “She is a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (formerly CSICOP)[12] and in 1991 was awarded the CSICOP Distinguished Skeptic Award.[3]”

    And here’s something Blackmore had to say about ganzfeld studies more recently in 2001 (from http://www.csicop.org/si/show/what_can_the_paranormal_teach_us_about_consciousness/ ):

    “These experiments, which looked so beautifully designed in print, were in fact open to fraud or error in several ways, and indeed I detected several errors and failures to follow the protocol while I was there. I concluded that the published papers gave an unfair impression of the experiments and that the results could not be relied upon as evidence for psi. Eventually the experimenters and I all published our different views of the affair (Blackmore 1987; Harley and Matthews 1987; Sargent 1987). The main experimenter left the field altogether

    “I would not refer to this depressing incident again but for one fact. The Cambridge data are all there in the Bem and Honorton review but unacknowledged. Out of twenty-eight studies included, nine came from the Cambridge lab, more than any other single laboratory, and they had the second highest effect size after Honorton’s own studies. Bem and Honorton do point out that one of the laboratories contributed nine of the studies but they do not say which one. Not a word of doubt is expressed, no references to my investigation are given, and no casual reader could guess there was such controversy over a third of the studies in the database.”

  • NoetPoet Aug 17, 2014

    @SufferingServant
    “To me, Buddhism is fundamentally flawed then. It is a half-truths, in that is is partial-truth coupled with misconceptions (aka lies). “

    Like I said, tell it to the Buddhists.

    “While I am open minded to one of their philosophies, reincarnation, it is only because I can logically make sense of it and have been unable disproved it, yet.”

    How can you logically make sense of it? Do you even know what Buddhism says about how rebirth occurs? Just because you can’t disprove something doesn’t mean it is therefore worthy of belief. Technically you can’t disprove the existence of Easter Bunny or unicorns, but most adults quite rightly don’t believe they exist because there is a glaring lack of evidence *in favour* of their existence. The same goes for reincarnation.

    “I honestly have not studied the way of Buddha and so cannot fully understand Buddhism. “

    So how can you say it’s fundamentally flawed if you haven’t studied it?

    “To say there is no 'self' is inaccurate. Without self, there no consciousness. This is true, I assure you. “

    You’ve got it backwards: without consciousness there is no self, because consciousness is a precondition of selfhood. What we call “the self” is just an elaborate and dynamic thought complex that the brain creates in order to facilitate interaction between the human organism and its environment.

    “The ability to reach Nirvana is similar to what Christianity refers to as 'annoitment' ”

    It really isn’t. Didn’t you just say that you haven’t studied Buddhism? So how can you make such a claim?

    “After Nirvana, assuming the misconceptions become dispelled, there is another state which is represented by two metaphors in Christianity I am currently aware of. “

    No, that is simply wrong. The whole point of Nirvana is that it is THE END of all existence. When Buddha describes Nirvana he only uses negating terms, e.g “unbounded”, “unformed”, “uncompounded”, “unborn”. If there were anything “after” Nirvana then it would, *by that very fact*, no longer be Nirvana! Moreover, according to Buddhism one *cannot* reach Nirvana until all “misconceptions” as you put it are dispelled.

    “I feel it in what many eastern philosophies refer to as the heart Chakra”

    Just because you feel it doesn’t mean it’s an accurate reflection of reality.

    “I didn't bother to confirm this, but if I am recalling correctly then the Dali Llama is the 'leader of Buddhist', correct?”

    No he’s not. He’s the leader of one sect of Buddhism. He is not the Pope of all Buddhism by any means.

    “His email would be handy to have, though I'm not positive I am ready to try and teach the Dali Llama.”

    Oh you’re going to teach the Dalai Lama about spirituality are you? What’s next, are you going teach Stephen Hawking about physics?

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 17, 2014

    Do not ever allow anyone to deny your truths my friend. This does not mean you should not listen to those who speak to you with love in their heart, it simply means when people are seemingly your enemy, they are in fact projecting onto you. You feel like their enemy to them because your words are against their uneducated belief system, and so you them become their enemy. If they had the capacity to entertain new concepts without inheritly accept them as true, especially when the concepts are against their belief system, then they are much less likely to project.

    And similarly - you have no enemies. Your apparent enemies are simply the enemies of your subconscious belief system.

    I do however recommend serious self-reflection on to what you believe to be true. Our belief system is within our subconscious mind, it is how it makes decisions. The problems start to occur when the differences between partial-truths, half-truths, and the Ultimate Truth are not known by our subconscious mind.

    Prayer is one form of communication from your conscious mind to your subconscious mind. How you pray is important. Prayer should be assertively commanding, not passive request.

    God Bless! See you on the other side :-)

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 17, 2014

    It's nice to get positive feedback for a change, rather than being unfairly labelled as a "dogmatic egotistical materialist".

    Well I am something of a panpsychist/neutral monist. It gives something like intrinsic consciousness that does not clash with the tonnes of neuroscience evidence that shows our personalities, sense of self etc. are created by the brain.

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 17, 2014

    @Noetpoet, metanalyses are used in medical literature all the time. So attacking the use of them is just not legitimate

    My question was have you read any of the papers on psi etc.

    "citation please"

    "The statistical departures from chance appear to be too large and consistent to attribute to statistical flukes of any sort...I tend to agree with Professor Utts that real effects are occurring in these experiments. Something other than chance departures from the null hypothesis has occurred in these experiments" Hyman, R. (1996) Evaluation of a program on anomalous mental phenomena.

    Regarding your lists of problems. Double blinding was in fact something pioneered by the field of parapsychology. Moreover, they actually encouraged the publishing of null results, unlike many other journals: This paper, describes as such and furthermore, addresses many of the flaws you believe you find in the field: http://willamette.academia.edu/JohannBaptista It also doesn't look like you've actually read and engaged with any of the research in detail, but I may well be wrong.

    "Addressed or side-stepped" Sorry, you clearly haven't looked at any of the data or papers if you're saying that, if you are bringing up the file drawer problem.

    Susan Blackmore herself concluded that the file drawer effect was not a serious problem in parapsychology Blackmore, S. (1980) 'The extent of selective reporting of ESP ganzfeld studies'

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 16, 2014

    "Of course you can have consciousness without self. Experienced meditators and those who take enough drugs regularly report the self ceasing to exist. Yet there is still conscious experience."

    This is incorrect, sorry.

    In actuality, the subconsciously merges into consciousness under such drugs as DMT. Which in and of themselves they are not wrong/evil (but can be if you do it incorrectly or for wrong reasons), but it is not recommended to do without loving friends around to guide your experience, especially in the instances fear consumes you. I have never tried such drugs,no desire. You should consider looking into why boys have much higher DMT levels. Also, this is true: many men using testosterone supplements should not be.. They need more DMT.

    By the way, subconsciously mind is way more self aware than our conscious mind is. If anything, DMT confirms this.

  • NoetPoet Aug 16, 2014

    @marcus

    "This is where you and I disagree. The effects are not impossible to distinguish from statistical errors, neither are they wishful thinking."

    Thus far all parapsychology research that I have encountered has some or all of the following deficiencies:

    *Significant results that are not replicable under rigorously controlled conditions
    *Optional stopping on the part of experimental subjects whenever they get 'tired'
    *Improperly randomised testing procedures, such that experimental subjects could eventually catch on to broad patterns in the testing procedure and thereby obtain results which would seem to be weakly significant
    *Inadequate double-blind procedures and protections against sensory leakage
    *Selectivity and confirmation bias on the part of observers in terms of what counts as a "hit" (especially in remote viewing experiments)
    *Widening the statistical goalposts, i.e. so that any experimental result which is at least a few percentage points greater *or less* than chance is interpreted as evidence of psi phenomena ('anti-psi' effect)
    *Inadequate definition of and distinction between different psi phenomena, such that experiments which seem to show an inadequate result for one form of psi (e.g. telepathy) are simply reinterpreted *after the experiment* until the researchers can find another form of psi phenomena (e.g. seeing the future) which makes it look like the data has given a significant.
    *Lack of a coherent testable hypothesis about *how* psi phenomena are supposed to work, let alone actually testing such hypotheses.
    *Inadequate consideration or flippant dismissal of other explanations for seemingly significant experimental results (e.g. unusually good deductive reasoning abilities on the part of experimental subjects). This relates to a fallacious assumption that statistical significance = psi phenomena.
    *Vague and unsubstantiated allusions to improbable and exotic phenomena, e.g. suggesting that quantum entanglement is responsible for or somehow related to alleged psi phenomena.
    *The alleged incidences of psi are very small and weak even when there are statistically significance results. How many of these studies show someone correctly reading divining so much as 3 letter combination more than chance would allow, or moving even a paperclip so much as an inch with nothing but mind power?

  • NoetPoet Aug 16, 2014

    "The meta analyses show a very significant albeit small effect."

    Are those the same meta-analyses which compare very diverse studies from around the world across many decades with very different setups and controls? Yet another fallacious assumption of parapsychologists is that meta-analyses can erase the effect of any errors or flaws in individual experiments; in reality it is a case of garbage-in-garbage-out, and if your meta-analysis is based on dodgy individual experiments and inadequately addresses the File-Drawer effect, then the meta-analysis will give a flawed result even before you have the chance to meddle with it in any other way. The parapsychologists' penchant for meta-analysis is just a desperate attempt to squeeze statistical significance out of data and give impressive-sounding results e.g. when Radin talks about the chance of a meta-analysis result being a gazillion to one without showing how he worked such a figure out.

    "Something which skeptics like Ray Hyman have been known to agree with."

    Citation please

    "I'd actually like to take this opportunity to ask if you have actually read any of the parapsychological literature, because you seem to be citing skeptical arguments that have been addressed before."

    Addressed or side-stepped?

    "I'm also curious to know why, if you think psi is nonsense, do you have an interest in posting here?"

    Because I think the overarching goal of exploring human abilities is a worthwhile one. But I think that the emphasis on statistical voodoo and quantum woo in an attempt to show "evidence" for psi is a case of barking up the wrong tree. There is nothing to psi, and nothing the parapsychologists have ever done has convincingly shown otherwise despite their very great determination to do so (i.e. at the expense of their scientific integrity and credibility). It is time for IONS etc. to stop flogging this dead horse and start looking at actual neuroscience and actual biology to work out how these seemingly "paranormal" abilities can be harnessed and utilised for widespread benefit.

    "Please do not take this as a sign to go. On the contrary, you are one of the few rational people on the site"

    Thank you. It's nice to get positive feedback for a change, rather than being unfairly labelled as a "dogmatic egotistical materialist".

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 16, 2014

    Of course you can have consciousness without self. Experienced meditators and those who take enough drugs regularly report the self ceasing to exist. Yet there is still conscious experience.

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 16, 2014

    (To Poet first reply to me)

    Well then..

    To me, Buddhism is fundamentally flawed then. It is a half-truths, in that is is partial-truth coupled with misconceptions (aka lies). While I am open minded to one of their philosophies, reincarnation, it is only because I can logically make sense of it and have been unable disproved it, yet. I honestly have not studied the way of Buddha and so cannot fully understand Buddhism.

    To say there is no 'self' is inaccurate. Without self, there no consciousness. This is true, I assure you.

    Consider this:

    The ability to reach Nirvana is similar to what Christianity refers to as 'annoitment' - which of course is a metaphor. To anoint means to cover the head in oil, which is still metaphoric for what it truly represents. It literally means, at least in my mind which may be pathetically incoherent(or I am being modest?) 'to make the mind slippery to evil thoughts' including self-doubt of known Truths that others are reluctant to believe. This essentially means if you become annointed, you are nearly immune to suffering. After Nirvana, assuming the misconceptions become dispelled, there is another state which is represented by two metaphors in Christianity I am currently aware of. 1) the Holy spirit 2)the Holy Grail - this feels to me like a fire of supreme love/happiness - it is a heightened state of consciousness. I feel it in what many eastern philosophies refer to as the heart Chakra (in the center of the nipple and slightly up roughly 1-2 inches. This, in my mind, is actually coming from a spot in the spine within the bundled nerves, but felt towards the front of my chest. It is generated through our subconscious mind (which I believe is actually -more- conscious than our 'conscious mind').

    I wonder how open-minded the Buddhist truly are, I have never met even one. My life has been very lonely. I didn't bother to confirm this, but if I am recalling correctly then the Dali Llama is the 'leader of Buddhist', correct? His email would be handy to have, though I'm not positive I am ready to try and teach the Dali Llama. I have something more important I am working on at this time. And because of that, I unfortunately cannot reply to further comments at this time.

    See you beyond the other side! May God reward you with his most Holy spirit!

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 16, 2014

    "The sort of paranormal abilities identified by Radin et al are so weak that they are impossible to distinguish from statistical error terms and/or wishful thinking on the part of the researchers...Could it also have something to do with parapsychologist's desperate desire to find *any* effect, no matter how insignificant, so long as it fits in with what they *want* to believe?"

    This is where you and I disagree. The effects are not impossible to distinguish from statistical errors, neither are they wishful thinking. The met analyses show a very significant albeit small effect. Something which skeptics like Ray Hyman have been known to agree with. I'd actually like to take this opportunity to ask if you have actually read any of the parapsychological literature, because you seem to be citing skeptical arguments that have been addressed before. If you have read the stuff before, then never mind. I'm also curious to know why, if you think psi is nonsense, do you have an interest in posting here? Please do not take this as a sign to go. On the contrary, you are one of the few rational people on the site.

  • NoetPoet Aug 16, 2014

    @marcus

    "Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly sure Nirvana is seen as a state of pure, contentless consciousness."

    That's not what Nirvana is, at least not in the Buddha's original teachings. NIrvana (or Nibbana) is actually a verb which means "to blow out (like a candle flame)" or "to go extinct". According to the Buddha even the most refine levels of consciousness are inherently suffering.

    Buddhist meditation teaches people to rise through increasingly refined levels of consciousness until they reach "the cessation of all perception and sensation". The last stages of consciousness before this cessation are (in order of both increasing refinement and nearness to cessation):

    *Infinite Space
    *Infinite Consciousness
    *Nothingness
    *Neither Perception Nor Non-Perception

    Again, even these refined states of being are considered to be suffering and thus ultimately unworthy of holding onto. The cessation found at the end of them is a preview of Nirvana; any meditator who reaches it will, according to Buddhist teaching, have only one more rebirth at most.

    Different conceptions of Nirvana such as the one you described evolved because later Buddhists (and Hindus) found the original Buddhist conception of Nirvana stark, alien and unpalatable.

  • NoetPoet Aug 16, 2014

    @marcus

    "Yogic Flying, lol. In all seriousness though, Radin's recent book does talk about them. However, the abilities documented in experiments are far weaker and nuanced than in ancient texts, meaning that there maybe a kernel of truth to some of them, though the stories have been heavily embellished. Clearly, stuff like levitation is almost certainly not true."

    Far weaker you say? Well that doesn't surprise me. I think one of the Youtube comments to that video said it best:

    "Isn't it odd that the ability to truly levitate has completely disappeared with modern recording techniques?"

    The sort of paranormal abilities identified by Radin et al are so weak that they are impossible to distinguish from statistical error terms and/or wishful thinking on the part of the researchers. Over it's history, parapsychology research has gone from investigating big claims like communicating with the dead and moving everyday objects with the mind to much smaller claims like "micro PK" and "predictive anticipatory activity". Why has this happened? Could it have something to do with the fact that, much like the "yogic flying" in the video, those big claims have invariably turned out to be full of crap? Could it also have something to do with parapsychologist's desperate desire to find *any* effect, no matter how insignificant, so long as it fits in with what they *want* to believe?

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 16, 2014

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly sure Nirvana is seen as a state of pure, contentless consciousness.

  • marcusantonio91 Aug 16, 2014

    Yogic Flying, lol. In all seriousness though, Radin's recent book does talk about them. However, the abilities documented in experiments are far weaker and nuanced than in ancient texts, meaning that there maybe a kernel of truth to some of them, though the stories have been heavily embellished. Clearly, stuff like levitation is almost certainly not true.

  • NoetPoet Aug 16, 2014

    Found the following video. Is this an example of the "remarkable and proven abilities" of yogis?

    Yogic Flying
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHwhGUo90jw

    You gotta laugh, you really do...

  • NoetPoet Aug 16, 2014

    "Just briefly: with no soul in Buddhism, can you explain?"

    Buddhism says that there is nothing that is truly worth being called a "self" or "soul", that the self/soul is an illusion generated by the interaction of impersonal mental and physical phenomena.

    "What is 'Nirvana' in your mind? Is it merely absence from suffering?"

    Nirvana literally means "to snuff it". Buddhism says that even the slightest bit of existence is full of suffering, so yes, Nirvana is the absence of suffering and all phenomena (which, again, are functionally identical to suffering according to Buddhism).

    "If that is true, there a 'next step' that is being missed. Also, with Nirvana - is the life mission after reaching Nirvana to share it? If no, Buddhism is self serving and thus the 'next level' is unreachable. If yes, then good. Here is a truth: serving others is more true that serving your self."

    Tell it to the Buddhists! Incidentally, there are some schools of Buddhism which do say that Nirvana should be "shared" as you put it. This puts them at odds with older schools of Buddhism on a very fundamental point of faith. So there you go: even within the same religion you can get disagreements about the "truth".

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 16, 2014

    Ugh.... I accidentally deleted a very long answer I wrote........... Ouch. I hate wasted time.

    I will do it again, later, when I get over what just happened.

    Just briefly: with no soul in Buddhism, can you explain? What is 'Nirvana' in your mind? Is it merely absence from suffering? If that is true, there a 'next step' that is being missed. Also, with Nirvana - is the life mission after reaching Nirvana to share it? If no, Buddhism is self serving and thus the 'next level' is unreachable. If yes, then good. Here is a truth: serving others is more true that serving your self.

  • NoetPoet Aug 15, 2014

    @SufferingServant

    "Everything is true, except the lies. They are true to different degrees."

    You're contradicting yourself here. You say that lies are the only things that aren't true, and then saying that they *are* true to some degree.

    "All Religions are true. Science is true."

    Really?? So the Islamic teaching that evildoers suffer in hell forever is true, but so is the Hindu teaching that people only suffer in hell for a finite time depending on their karma? The Christian teachings of a supreme creator God and an immortal soul are true, but so are the Buddhist teachings of no-soul and a beginningless cosmos? So the Biblical teaching that woman was created from man's rib is true, but so is the theory of evolution?

    "It is when they are connected (it is coming, soon, I promise you this) that everything will be clear to you."

    How do you know that it is coming?

    "Science cannot accept what it cannot logically explain. Most choose to deny truth instead of what the 'real' scientists do: seek truth in the perceived unexplainable."

    The first sentence is a straw man argument. Science doesn't merely refuse to accept what it can't logically explain, rather it investigates until it can find a logical explanation. The sort of people who choose to deny the truth rather than looking into it overwhelmingly tend to be religious and self-proclaimed 'spiritual' people.

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 15, 2014

    You miss my point (continuation of the prior thread)

    Everything is true, except the lies. They are true to different degrees.

    All Religions are true. Science is true. It is when they are connected (it is coming, soon, I promise you this) that everything will be clear to you.

  • Silverghost Aug 15, 2014

    G'day Suffering Servant

    The ego is getting in the way of science as it did for religion in the dark ages, no ideological principle is the be and end all. The perception of todays logics will change as science keeps evolving, logics in another thousand yrs time will not be the logics of today so why logically think it's the be and end all today when it's obviously going to be somewhat different tomorrow!!

    Spiritual bashes will knock new age spirituality but at least it's evolving, some of the old concepts are still there but they are being used differently especially in relation to western spirituality which was fixated to doctrines as some science minded people seem to be doing today.

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 15, 2014

    Science cannot accept what it cannot logically explain. Most choose to deny truth instead of what the 'real' scientists do: seek truth in the perceived unexplainable.

  • NoetPoet Jun 08, 2014

    @ROS:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hfYJsQAhl0

  • Anonymous Icon

    RealityOverScience Jun 08, 2014

    Jim,

    It is the other side of ...yourself... that is seeking you out, not extraterrestrials. It is the reflection/reflect-ion, the mirror image, that folks have inadvertently "alien"-ated from themselves, that is causing that haunting and taunting energy forever seeking resolution.

    That's the physics of ...balance... inherent in your (everyone's) existence, that you (they) are experiencing.

    When you go right, it pulls you left. If up, it pulls you down. If over, it draws you under. It is your own inescapable "shadow" following you through life, demanding equilibrium.

    When you intellectualize too much, it causes you to feel. If you feel too much, it forces you to think! (That's why psychiatrists are so fluent with the true Universal Physics, which they relearn to become psychiatrists capable of rebalancing their patients!)

    Likewise for scientists, they are unwittingly, unconsciously searching for THEMSELVES "out there," so if they would learn about their own physics dynamics first, that ability to *reflect* ...within themselves... would lead them to the Answers they seek ...without themselves...! Going into their work blindly is why it takes "centuries" for scientists to find their Answers.

  • NoetPoet Jun 07, 2014

    "failure to understand logic is not my problem."

    It clearly *is* a problem for you.

  • Hellseer Jun 06, 2014

    good soup takes many diverse ingredients. failure to understand logic is not my problem.

  • NoetPoet May 25, 2014

    "Well, these things have been around for thousands of years and modern western science only a few hundred so what modern western science thinks of is irrelevent. Even when they say they are looking at or studying something, they don't even know what they are looking at. Most science is done by people who are paid to do a singular job in a capitalist state of extreme division of labour, they are paid not to think about it."

    Your ability to bundle a diverse set of logical fallacies into one paragraph is quite impressive!

  • Hellseer May 25, 2014

    Well, these things have been around for thousands of years and modern western science only a few hundred so what modern western science thinks of is irrelevent. Even when they say they are looking at or studying something, they don't even know what they are looking at. Most science is done by people who are paid to do a singular job in a capitalist state of extreme division of labour, they are paid not to think about it.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi May 24, 2014

    NoetPoet,

    Most, if not all the books I've read, going back even before the birth of IONS, may not have mentioned terms such as “paradigm shift” and “transcendent reality”, but they contained the spirit of those terms.

    The same is true for the recorded lectures I have been drawn to.

    This spirit is often then conveyed in other forms of media such as this forum, movies and less formal, more intimate conversations. The spirit then seeps through the density of the herd or consensus reality and gradually some, perhaps subtle, degree of cultural transformation occurs.

    I have the impression that the book I have been promoting will follow this pattern. I will promote or discuss the book further only if others bring it up.

    You have admitted that, like the author of this book, you are an atheist.

    I must admit that this book has drawn me closer to an understanding, if not an attraction to atheism; in that, there is a somewhat strange sense of liberation that may or may not take hold.

    My purpose in participating in Discussions is to contribute to making it attractive to a wider audience that enjoys discussing ideas. Eventually, I would like to see friendships develop to the degree that lighthearted jesting and humor replaces aggressive confrontation. My attempts at that with you have not been successful.

    If you wish to discuss ideas, I may join you. If you follow your recent pattern of personal attacks against me, my intention is to resist the temptation to engage you.

    Best wishes,…..Jim

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 23, 2014

    Re: Perhaps it is part of some cosmic plan that we humans occasionally encounter the unexpected from each other.

    We orient around a singular coherence when in fact everything is multi-coherent.

  • NoetPoet May 23, 2014

    "You are right, to a degree; in that other reality, there is no “me” or “I”. The use of those terms is a necessity of language that I cannot find a way around, with any degree of comfort."

    And yet you said "i became something that was not born and will never die", which strongly suggests that you ARE in fact identifying it as an aspect of your self. If this were not so, then it would have been easy enough for you to phrase your statement more appropriately, e.g. "I felt all aspects of my self-hood give way to something eternal and transcendent which was utterly beyond any sense of 'me'".

    "Your comment does not reflect that you have read the book “Living with a Wild God”. This book builds the strongest case that I can imagine for the existence of a nonhuman or extraterrestrial “something” that is attempting to interact with humanity."

    Care to outline the key points of this "strong" case? Both for myself and the hordes of lurkers who are doubtlessly champing at the bit to join in this conversation, of course...

    "As a former UFO researcher, I learned to identify the misinformation or propaganda spread by agents that intends to distract from or discredit reports of UFO’s."

    I think you might have missed my point: our culture and our neurology has ingrained in us a strong inclination to personify our experiences. In the past people personified unusual/impressive experiences by assigning a divine agency to them, e.g. attributing them to the work of a god or a spirit. In more modern times such divine beings have become less plausible, so people like yourself have instead chosen to personify unusual/impressive experiences by associating them with ETs. Indeed your background as a UFO researcher makes you even *more* inclined than most other people to have this particular perceptual bias.

    "I have the impression that it represents the emergence of a mind expanding paradigm shift."

    Careful Jim - "mind expanding paradigm shift" is exactly the kind of term that will set off any decent quality BS detector.

    "A simple short comment from others, such as “I have read the book and agree or disagree with what you say”, would be sufficient to reflect that we are not a solitary couple engaging in mental masturbation."

    The only one fondling himself here is you Jim.

    "If you agree to create such a topic, I will not blow your cover as did Bob."

    Was that another poorly worded attempt at sarcasm? Don't tell me you actually buy into that delusional nonsense Jim. I thought you had more sense then that!

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi May 22, 2014

    HI NoetPoet,

    Well, that is certainly not something I expected from you.

    Perhaps it is part of some cosmic plan that we humans occasionally encounter the unexpected from each other.

    You are right, to a degree; in that other reality, there is no “me” or “I”. The use of those terms is a necessity of language that I cannot find a way around, with any degree of comfort.

    Your comment does not reflect that you have read the book “Living with a Wild God”. This book builds the strongest case that I can imagine for the existence of a nonhuman or extraterrestrial “something” that is attempting to interact with humanity.

    As a former UFO researcher, I learned to identify the misinformation or propaganda spread by agents that intends to distract from or discredit reports of UFO’s. I have been to the home of such agents several times and they have been to mine. I will certainly not reveal their names.

    Based on my years of UFO research, the book “Living with a Wild God” presents the highest form of truth regarding UFO’s or extraterrestrial entities that I have encountered. I have the impression that it represents the emergence of a mind expanding paradigm shift.

    I respect you and recognize the necessity of the role you are playing; I have enjoyed interacting with it, but I will not play the game of “you said – I said” as you did with Bob Johnston and RoS.

    I would be pleased to discuss the book with you, after you have read it. Perhaps if there were a wider participation in Discussions, I would look forward to us exchanging comments with others.

    A simple short comment from others, such as “I have read the book and agree or disagree with what you say”, would be sufficient to reflect that we are not a solitary couple engaging in mental masturbation.

    Perhaps a topic should be created for a discussion of the book rather than distracting from this topic. I see no rush to create such a topic; sufficient time should elapse for others to digest the contents of the book and consider participating in the discussion.

    If you agree to create such a topic, I will not blow your cover as did Bob.

    Best wishes……Jim


  • NoetPoet May 21, 2014

    @Jim Centi
    “In that transcendent state, I became something that was not born and will never die and death was recognized as an absurdity. This direct knowing (conceptual thought not involved) brought on a sense of freedom and ecstasy far beyond any concept of freedom and ecstasy that the human mind is capable of imagining.”

    It’s interesting that you say “I became” something that was not born and will never die. Did you really become such a thing? Or are you claiming ownership of this experience simply because “you” have a memory of it? If all aspects of your self – your thinking, your memories, your perceptions etc – were absent in this state, then how can you meaningfully call it “you” or “yours”?

    “Then several months ago, after reading the book “Living with a Wild God” I am again standing at the door of that transcendent reality. This book awakened the realization in me that opening the door is not something I (a human sense of self or ego) does. No, the door is opened by a nonhuman or extraterrestrial entity or entities that, perhaps at their whim, may invite us in.”

    While I see and agree with your point that “you” were not responsible for this state, I think you are making an error in attributing it to some other entity. Why personify it at all? Is it possible that you have inferred a culturally-derived perception of personality onto your experience after the fact?

    “I do not believe that something like this could be incorporated into traditional science.”

    Never say never – scientists are already capable of inducing OBEs, NDE-like experiences, and lucid dreaming in people. Profound Samadhi-like experiences can’t be far behind…

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi May 19, 2014

    Since the IONS staff posted this topic, I have gone through some changes.

    First a bit of background:

    I began meditating about forty years ago and after a few months, entered that state often referred to as Cosmic Consciousness, Enlightenment or Samadhi etc. The experience only lasted about three hours.

    Although I meditated religiously for many years after the experience, it never returned.

    A little over a year ago, I became interested in the Neuroscience proclamation that the human sense of self is an illusion. This struck a chord with me because in the state I entered, it was very clear that beyond the human self with its mundane concerns of everyday life, there is a transcendent reality that is much more real and profoundly beautiful.

    In that transcendent state, I became something that was not born and will never die and death was recognized as an absurdity. This direct knowing (conceptual thought not involved) brought on a sense of freedom and ecstasy far beyond any concept of freedom and ecstasy that the human mind is capable of imagining.

    With the neuroscience information deeply embedded in awareness, I had the thought “At last, science is at the door of transcendence.” This brought about a sense of hope for humanity, but my subjective experience remained; somewhat bored with the human superficial existence.

    I had abandoned my dedication to meditation for several years, but after the neuroscience info I began to practice it again, but only occasionally.

    Then several months ago, after reading the book “Living with a Wild God” I am again standing at the door of that transcendent reality. This book awakened the realization in me that opening the door is not something I (a human sense of self or ego) does. No, the door is opened by a nonhuman or extraterrestrial entity or entities that, perhaps at their whim, may invite us in.

    That book ends with the words quoted in a comment to my topic REBIRTH OF MIND. There is a paragraph quoted and then the final words “it is seeking us out.”

    Had I been so talented to write such a book those are not the words I would have chosen. I may have ended the book with something like the following:

    “We are being courted by one or more nonhuman or extraterrestrial entities to have an experience outside the human cocoon of space and time.” I think that ending would be more romantic or enticing and not so ominous.

    I have the impression that what proper meditation does is place us in a deeply relaxed state where we are willing, perhaps unconsciously, to abandon the human sense of self. What comes next is not something we do; it is something that may happen to us.

    I do not believe that something like this could be incorporated into traditional science. Thank you IONS staff, for the opportunity to address what some refer to as mysticism.

  • Anonymous Icon

    RealityOverScience Sep 16, 2013

    By the way, you don't want to DESTROY the ego, let alone "kill it," because you are going to need it "on the other side," so to speak.

    You just need to set it aside for awhile, so it doesn't interfere with the relinquishing of control, required by Universal Physics itself to realize *balance.*

    Later, when you return to it, it will have been restored to healthy balance, as well.

  • Anonymous Icon

    RealityOverScience Sep 16, 2013

    I "offer that procedure which actually gets you there," and I've provided the first steps to take on these boards, but, well,...horse to water and all!

    :/

    You (generic) can't go around and around the universe, hoping to find the Answers, BECAUSE OF the true nature of the Universe itself. It'll never happen, which is why science is so stuck. Instead, you have to "catch it" in its true *stillness.* But, already, that is SO over people's heads that they just dismiss it. And around and around they go!

    Letting go of control, and risking trusting oneself enough to trust that another could actually possibly guide them "there," is terrifying to most folks, and the first impulse is usually anger. That, in itself, IS part of the process of "doing the work!"

    Eroding one's own defense mechanisms and comfort zones out from under oneself is frightening, and it takes courage to consistently do enough of that work to begin to realize that NEW and accurate defense mechanisms and comfort zones move in to replace the faulty ones. Once over that hurdle, the joy and intrigue of realizing the true Universal Processes taking place help to then multiply exponentially everything else from there.

    But fear of letting go, and risking...including, for many, "the wrath of God," ...keep nearly everyone rushing back to their perceived safe places.

    It takes intelligence, as the Dalai Lama says, to hold onto your every next "ladder rung," so every time there's a difficult or painful hurdle to get through, you don't slip back down to the comfort of convention.

  • Anonymous Icon

    sachin Sep 15, 2013

    Much time is wasted in discussion on how I am more right and more knowledgeable. When all members possess a certain knowledge on the functions of the brain, meditation, etc. one should start this development of brain without much ado and write abt their experiences. Many techniques bring u closer to realisation. Many faiths have their own ways. But there r very few which offer u the precise procedure which gets u there. Kundalini yoga for eg., if done properly makes u master of the universe. The problem lies in destroying ur ego. Also if not done properly it may leads to incurable madness.

    The basic principle to attain siddhi is to kill the ego. First understand what is ego then go in for its killing. It is not killed by willing its killing. One should not misguide himself that the ego is killed. Realisation dawns once it is understood how it is to be killed. Then the goal of yogic meditation fructifying its zenith is reached. Ego is beyond consciousness.

    Try the yogic technique of Chidakash Dharana. Get it thru proper guidance and dont believe at all the the internet is informative on it

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Sep 09, 2013

    That Wim Hod can accomplish what he does is not surprising to me. We are capable creatures that place our own limits on ourselves in many ways.
    This post called to mind a TEDTalk, http://www.ted.com/talks/lewis_pugh_s_mind_shifting_mt_everest_swim.html

    "After he swam the North Pole, Lewis Pugh vowed never to take another cold-water dip. Then he heard of Lake Imja in the Himalayas, created by recent glacial melting, and Lake Pumori, a body of water at an altitude of 5300 m on Everest -- and so began a journey that would teach him a radical new way to approach swimming and think about climate change."

  • Anonymous Icon

    hypnotherapy_sf Sep 08, 2013

    Incidentally I have JUST sent an email to Noetic Institute in the hope of creating a USA research collaboration with such a modern-day yogi (Wim Hof, aka "The Iceman" for his practice of tummo-like technique) who demonstrates 'remarkable' autonomic nervous system, cardiovascular, and immune system control. In recent research he demonstrated in a controlled study in Europe that he can train others for 'unusual' thermoregulation and immune-system modulation in a short period of time (not years, like with traditional yogic training).
    Mr. Hof is a 20-time world record holder in areas of human performance and endurance, especially in the cold. You can find him feature on you-tube, History Channel , Discovery Channel, BBC/ National Geographic, etc. I am a friend and collaborator of Mr. Hof here in the USA.
    If anyone is conducting relevant research or has contacts to establish a research project with him, please contact me noam.salpeter@healinglnaguage.com
    He will be visiting the SF Bay Area briefly Nov 6-11 and teach a workshop Nov 9-10.

  • Anonymous Icon

    NewtTrino Aug 05, 2013

    RE:

    RealityOverScience Aug 05, 2013

    "Do the work!"

    That's all you have -- and not even an original thought. You are free to babble. I am tired of wasting my time on the parts of your assertions that are clearly erroneous. I'll move on and try to ignore you...

  • Anonymous Icon

    RealityOverScience Aug 05, 2013

    Do the work!

  • Anonymous Icon

    NewtTrino Aug 05, 2013

    ROS

    Your own words incriminate you. If you are claiming to save lives with your super-consciousness; then you have exalted yourself with superhuman powers. YOU DON'T KNOW UNIVERSAL TRUTH -- If you claim to then you do have a Messiah complex. Physics do not change -- they are either correctly explained and proven or not. Physics and math need to have universal constants or NOTHING makes sense. I don't know it all -- but neither my friend do you...And one of your buzz words -- convention -- means a set of agreed, stipulated, or generally accepted standards. The rules do not change because you say they do. You have strong believe -- but no empirical proof...

  • Anonymous Icon

    RealityOverScience Aug 05, 2013

    Newt...

    YOU are the one constantly putting me on a pedestal so you can then have the pleasure of knocking me back off again. None of all your "holier than thou" stuff is coming from ME! First you accuse me of thinking myself a "messiah," and, failing that, now you're accusing me of cornering the market on divinity? I don't shop at that market!

    Divinity is a concept invented by convention, to fulfill and support the needs and assumptions...of convention!

    Universal Truth uses a very different physics, and is therefore totally undaunted by conventional expectation.

  • Anonymous Icon

    NewtTrino Aug 05, 2013

    RE:

    " "Doing the work" requires one to humble oneself to the process, and to set aside everything one assumes or holds most dear to them. It will tear down all your defense mechanisms, redirect your religions, redefine your cultures, etc., and people you think you know so well will become total strangers to you, and strangers you thought you never knew will become closer to your heart than ever before imagined."

    Yet you are still here... You will not find divinity for anyone but yourself no matter how much work you do. I am no more will to buy your mantra than you are to buy mine. And I can assure you that I trust my heart and mind every bit as much as you do your own. And I am open to truth. But humanity is not divinity. We conquer our demons one battle at a time. The frailty and fallibility of humans will be more work than you could ever accomplish alone -- or even with half of all humanity.

    There is a need for positive and negative force. It is what propels the universe. It is the row we must hoe. Or to paraphrase 'doing the work' The 'work' is your own -- not mine - not everyone elses...we all have our own path. The collective will morph and evolve, but never at the same rate as the individual. Just as planets will be sucked in to black holes and be recreated as conformed energy; we will be transformed by growth, decay and resurrection. So save yourself. I am fine...

  • Anonymous Icon

    RealityOverScience Aug 05, 2013

    Conventional rules of reasoning (which are only in place to protect convention!) keep the world endlessly at war, because everybody's so afraid that somebody else, another culture, another religion, another whatever, will get ahead of them, and it all becomes a battle of ego.

    Consciousness, Enlightenment, is not subjective. Everybody and everything, every event, happening, the weather, etc., all share the exact same physics at the Core. You can take it anywhere on the planet or off, any culture, religion, science, etc., and debate the heck out of it, and that Core will prove itself again and again! This has been realized for thousands upon thousands of years.

    The ONLY way you will realize that is to genuinely put forth the effort to "do the work," which teaches you how to discover those inescapable truths within yourself, because you are born to fluently realize the true physics, because, being a part of the Universe, it is your Core physics, as well.

    "Doing the work" requires one to humble oneself to the process, and to set aside everything one assumes or holds most dear to them. It will tear down all your defense mechanisms, redirect your religions, redefine your cultures, etc., and people you think you know so well will become total strangers to you, and strangers you thought you never knew will become closer to your heart than ever before imagined.

    Consciousness, Enlightenment, IS the inescapable realization of the true mathematical physics process that the Universe is using/doing, (and so much more), AND that mathematics itself is NOT the Ultimate Process at the Pinnacle (NOT the Ultimate Universal Language!).

    There is soooo much more, all realizable!

    "Doing the work" is VERY REAL, and there is no going back once one has begun. Sure, "most people run away SCREAMING!," to quote The Neverending Story, but they will forever be haunted by how much they had glimpsed so far.

    Be careful what you wish for, because once you start opening that Pandora's box, your life will never be the same!

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Aug 04, 2013

    Is math fiction?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbNymweHW4E

  • Anonymous Icon

    NewtTrino Aug 04, 2013

    No ROS -- there are not two truths going on -- only a myriad of interpretations. Math and physics are truth. How the equations are correctly understood will reveal what truth is. What you or I say is truth will always be subject to the empirical data. Neither of us have the master key yet -- only a shared key that will only work when there is consensus. Otherwise it is opinion.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Aug 02, 2013

    http://noetic.org/research/psi-research/

  • Anonymous Icon

    RealityOverScience Aug 02, 2013

    Newt...

    Regarding "doing the work:"

    There are "two truths" going on in the Universe: What the Universe is REALLY doing, which remains completely undaunted throughout, and what convention (the collective unconscious human world, all around the world) assumes it is doing, based upon their traditions, cultures, and religions, etc., that they have established for themselves, in their efforts to basically survive.

    We are all born to realize the REAL Universal Truth, to fluently *remember* the Universal Process, because we are a part of the Universe, so it is our physics process as well! But once life slaps on the "pink and the blue," the "this and the that" of conventional expectations, well...almost everyone loses that original gift they were born with, into the distraction of convention (what everybody else is doing).

    This is why children often have extraordinary abilities, such as photographic memory! They haven't fully lost access to their real physics yet! The older they get, the more they "forget!"

    This is why Buddhist monks, for instance, get little children to be monks as early in their childhoods as possible, before they get SO distracted that the road back into Universal Reality becomes a very long and arduous and painful process.

    Most folks live out their entire lives, never ever figuring it out! This is soooo sad, because humans are far more than they realize. Hence, the sages' abilities!

    All throughout human history, those who have *remembered* the true Universal Process and see the Chaos and suffering of the distracted convention, and who have tried, with compassion, to share it, have indeed been severely persecuted, punished, imprisoned and/or put to death! (There is ample evidence that Jesus was one of them!) This is where much of those "secret societies" have come from (minus all the copycat varieties), because they gave/give people "in the know" a place to socialize with like-minded others, without fear of persecution, etc.. People were "burned at the stake" for realizations convention was terrified of!

    None of what comes from Enlightenment/superConsciousness is mystical, magical, metaphysical or fantastical, etc.., all those "new age" labels that convention loves to place on it, almost armor-like! It is all VERY REAL, all actual very serious physics, the kind distracted scientists could only dream about having access to!

    Convention CAN rediscover it, but it is very hard work, and it can be very, very painful at times, because folks have generations upon generations of "vested interests" in all their belief systems, and will sooner kill and go to war, than to relinquish those vested interests. It feels like death to those who have to realize their lives have been founded upon distraction, so it terrifies people, and they destroy the messenger instead!

    Learning, step by step, how to redirect oneself is what is called..."Doing the work!"

  • Anonymous Icon

    RealityOverScience Aug 02, 2013

    ** Regarding the ESP, telepathy, precognition, etc., studies I mentioned... It is not the serious documentaries saying they are studying all the wrong things, in all the wrong ways. *I* am saying that, because I am fluent in what those are, and so I am able to recognize that where those folks are looking, and their methodologies in their efforts to prove, disprove, and document them, are very seriously flawed!

    In other words, there is a very real Universal physics behind them, but what those researchers are doing has nothing whatsoever to do with that very real Universal physics! Again, it is convention using conventional reasoning, to try to understand something that has nothing to do with convention!

    Kinda like looking for an elephant in a canary cage!

  • Anonymous Icon

    RealityOverScience Aug 02, 2013

    My very legitimate concerns with scientists are when the vast majority reaching the public, through various sources, such as television programs, news, documentaries, radio, etc., make blatant statements, such as "No one can predict earthquakes!" and "No one can predict the future!," and "Precognition is Impossible," because those are absolutely WRONG (because there's actual Universal physics proving that!), and those very naive statements are costing millions of people their lives, billions over generations, because those folks are considered trusted "authorities" and directly influence emergency services personnel, law enforcement agencies, political leaders, etc., who hold the power over whether or not innocent people get to keep their lives every day! All sorts of other important decisions are made, as well, based on false statements made by scientists who, by social status alone, are considered "experts!"

    Problem is, science is primarily rooted in convention, and uses conventional rules of reasoning, which are ONLY in place to support...convention!

    Universal Truth, the REAL physics that the Universe is using, is completely undaunted by the collective unconscious convention, and so are its devastating events, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, tragedies of all sorts, including human-initiated tragedies. So, when conventionally-influenced science has not evolved enough to remove itself from its conventional trappings, it can do one heckuva lot of harm and damage, costing thousands, hundreds of thousands, or more, of people's lives...in as much as a single event! (Indonesian/multi-country tsunami, tragedy in Sendai, Japan, earthquakes around the world, etc...)

    Scientists are trying to protect the reputation of "science" so they are taken seriously, but the problem is that they are being taken seriously when they haven't earned the right to be, with horrific results that the world needs to know about, because the collective unconscious convention has inadvertently positioned equally unconscious "authorities" in place to protect them, completely unaware of what they've done!

    When hundreds of thousands of people are being killed in a single event, and countless others in tragedies all around the world, it is no longer about protecting the reputations of those scientists, or their science, and the priority becomes selfLESSly trying to SAVE PEOPLE'S LIVES! If they require their feelings and needs to be considered, those need to BE included within their work, so they CAN achieve the Balance that the Universe requires, and not only suddenly become part of the aftermath when tragedies slip by!

    Toward that end, science needs to concede that it has taken some really serious wrong turns, and redirect itself on behalf of all sentient life, and begin that redirection by learning "how to" *listen!* (To those sages!)

  • Anonymous Icon

    RealityOverScience Aug 02, 2013

    Evidence of science's disinterest in such things comes from "where" science, itself, IS, in its level of understanding and processing. In other words, the reflection of those studies, should they be taking place, would be evident in their work.

    There are various levels of "science" taking place in the world. Highly classified science would be what is going on at, say, Los Alamos, "Area 51," and behind other "very closed doors! Then, there are the relatively public sciences, such as what takes place at universities and science labs and organizations around the world. Many of these folks are very likely spending (inadvertently wasting) billions looking for answers the more classified guys have already had for a rather long time! (World studies going on with ESP, telepathy, precognition, etc., as shown on serious TV documentaries, show scientists looking for their answers in all the wrong places, using all the wrong methodologies, etc.!). There are also the media scientists, who try to find ways to balance themselves between the university lab folks, etc., and what the public (convention) can handle or digest. There are also those who present their theoretical ideas in comedic and (often at times) ridiculous manners (for the public itself), as a way of exploring and presenting those ideas, without having to "own" anything and lose their reputations, should they ever be proven wrong.

    There ARE those who are trying to figure out why it is that science, in general, keeps running into its still very active "old boy school's" notion of "soft science," aka "philosophy." While most are not at all accepting of it, and looking for ways around it, others are displaying the courage (often at the threat of losing a serious career reputation or tenure), to, say, join the Dalai Lama in his presentations, as he travels around the world addressing issues related to the various sciences. The Mind and Life Institute has gotten their attention and interest, for example.

    There are a relative handful of studies being conducted on Tibetan monks (and others), to explore what takes place in the brains of meditating monks, including fMRI studies, and others exploring how it is that some monks (certainly not those at novice levels) can maintain healthy body temperature, when exposed at length to freezing environments, etc...

    (To be continued...)

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Aug 02, 2013

    Where is the evidence that science ignore these people? There is the claim by no evidence?

  • Anonymous Icon

    NewtTrino Aug 01, 2013

    RE: ROS -- "Do the Work!"

    What work my friend? Give me a source to examine - a bibliography - names - anything...'what? Nothing? I thought as much. Your claims are totally unfounded and without merit.

  • Anonymous Icon

    RealityOverScience Aug 01, 2013

    Borrowing the Dalai Lama's response to bullies:

    "Do the Work!"

  • Anonymous Icon

    NewtTrino Aug 01, 2013

    Agreed Moodysj...

    RE: ROS "Statistics *wise,* you'll have to take that up with the major university dept, heads I interviewed for books I was writing on superConsciousness at the time! I was quoting them! (They corrected my "< 5%.")"

    I don't believe you have ever written a book. What sources are you quoting? "Major University Department Heads" do not shoot from the hip with unquantified statistics. You are a delusional quack. And I am 100% sure of that. haha.

  • Anonymous Icon

    moodysj Aug 01, 2013


    Science is a very simple tool/method to increase knowledge. Lets not confuse science with people who do science. People who do science are juts like other people and have a wide range of viewpoints on religion, philosophy, consciousness and so forth.

    Science is simply: Have an idea. Test it to see if it is true or false. Learn. Move on to next idea - based on what i just learned.

    Unfortunately this process costs time/effort/money and there is competition for which ideas get funded for testing. Many mainstream scientists talk about ideas like these all the time and projects have been funded in the past - unfortunately many have found no repeatable evidence. These are hard things to test though - and perhaps we need to devise better experiments. Scientists are constained in what they do based on the available funding - simple as that. Imagine you held the funding pot - one group of scientists says they are developing a drug to save babies dying during child birth, the other says they want to test the supernatural abilities of Yogis. Mainstream science isn't interested because this stuff is not mainstream - they have other things to do. If every town had a Yogi routinely performing supernatural ability - it would be getting heavily funded.

    Organisations like the IONS should look to fund scientific testing of these ideas. If e.g. Yogi exist who have these powers it should be possible to test them, record the results and publish a paper, talk to the media etc etc.

  • Anonymous Icon

    RealityOverScience Jul 31, 2013

    Statistics *wise,* you'll have to take that up with the major university dept, heads I interviewed for books I was writing on superConsciousness at the time! I was quoting them! (They corrected my "< 5%.")

    As for the unconsciousness of scientists... (to quote The Neverending Story):

    "Fancy armor doesn't help! The sphinxes can see straaaaight into your heart!" ;)

  • Anonymous Icon

    NewtTrino Jul 29, 2013

    RE: "Consciousness is extremely difficult to *grasp* for most people," --

    That is why only "waaaay less than 1% of the entire world's population" is Enlightened (Conscious)!

    Do you not realize that it is incredibly ignorant to claim to know these kinds of statistics. Your view -- while you are free to espouse -- is unfounded in known fact. If your perceived work "involves redirecting them back to where they've taken that wrong turn," do you not realize how arrogant and disrespectful that is to those who have spent their lives dedicated to hard work and honest pursuit of truth as they see it.

    There are many among us capable of heightened senses of enlightenment and spiritual power. We should be open to the unknown. But we should also share our experiences in a transcendental way. We may not be able to bring everyone along on the journey nonetheless. It takes openness, awareness and discipline to achieve higher consciousness. Our intent can help shape the collective. But sometimes we must seek peace in the eye of the storm lest we be washed away by the current of doubt and ignorance. There will always be skeptics. You can only provide a beacon not a leash.

  • Anonymous Icon

    RealityOverScience Jul 29, 2013

    Conventional scientists are unwittingly UNconscious, including of the reality that their science is a "religion" of (conventionally emulated) faith-based "rigidity," "in a Universe of quite the contrary!" As a result, they are now running into their dreaded "philosophy" and are insulted by the inevitability of their having taken a wrong turn!

    My work involves redirecting them back to where they've taken that wrong turn, primarily to save people's lives (and to advance science/quantum Answers, etc), and to help them understand both the physics of why they have run into "philosophy," and their universal responsibility to selflessly redirect themselves.

    Consciousness is extremely difficult to *grasp* for most people, and it can be terrifying for those not ready, and scientists are likely going to be among "the last to know," because they have such a vested interest in the ego factor (societal status) of their perception of "science," that has to be relinquished for them to become *far more highly evolved!*

    Consciousness / Enlightenment is something that has to be realized from *within,* alone, and people are social creatures who follow "what everybody else is doing" before they trust their own instincts. It is only when one is secure enough as a becoming-balanced human being, and has learned through *doing the (very hard and scary) work* (of becoming Awakened) toward the true Universal Reality, that one will journey into complex, abstract areas of higher truths alone, to experience for himself or herself what is genuinely *there!*

    That is why only "waaaay less than 1% of the entire world's population" is Enlightened (Conscious)!

  • Joseph Smith May 14, 2013

    Hey bestearth, good thinking!

    Speaking of Lindberg's flight across the Atlantic, I've my experience in the Bermuda Triangle as proof that our minds are beyond our skulls. I was in a time warp. It happened in late August 1976. You don't hear about it because I was not lost at sea. With three friends, I was on my way from Nassau to Palm Beach, Florida on my sloop "Bold Venture." We sailed into tropical storm Dottie. For 10 hours, sailing a course 70 degrees off my original course, to the north on the north moving Gulfstream, battling high wind and thirty foot seas, inexplicably, we arrived at our destination at my estimated time of arrival, only to find breakers completely across Lake Worth Inlet. Something told me to go for it. My friends were so seasick they couldn't care what happened. With seas breaking on both sides, we slid down a wave that never broke into the inlet. My friends called it a miracle.

  • bestearth May 14, 2013

    I think there's plenty of evidence. I guess some scientists won't include the personal experiences of people as valid. One I can think of is Charles Lindberg's flight across the atlantic, 1927. This flight was more than 33hrs, in the "Spirit of St Louis", one man, one radial engine, no view forward as the windscreen was now part of the fuel tank. No navigation equipment, no gps, no radar vectors, no autopilot and navigating by dead reckoning. I read he had an experience where he fell asleep and his consciousness expanded outside the aeroplane and took over while his body slept. That means controlling the aircraft by some other means. If you fell asleep wouldn't your hands fall of the control stick? Does that qualify as ESP?

    The scientists do acknowledge the power of the mind to heal, but they don't call it that ,they call it a placebo effect, which they seem to regard as a nuisance effect. But it's actually an admission. They just can't get their head around the idea that it's not allowed to work that way. They are trying to achieve everything through the conscious mind which can only analyse. But it's the subconscious that knows how to do things, its got the knowhow, the intuition, the imagination and experience because it's connected to the archive of the soul. Science does great work but it's just been hampered by special interests. It seems that the scientists who make breakthroughs have a common trait. They all share a spiritual mind, Einstein, Max Planck, Tesla, Haramein to name a few.

    I think it's sensible to believe in God. I've met athiests who think such beliefs are a sign of insecurity and fear of death. But if it gives you oxygen, so what?

    There's an interesting account of group of men forced to abandon ship. In the lifeboat they had no drinking water for days that became weeks. The story is that the captain led the men in prayer and asked them to imagine and visualise fresh water. They focused so hard in facing death that they caused a miracle, When they dipped their hands in the ocean the water was not salty but had become fresh green water. And these men were not yogis.

    The account is in this 1hr 20min documentary about the properties of water and the breakthroughs in understanding which seems to indicate that water is some kind of liquid supercomputer. Here it is http://www.chinesehealthandfitness.com/#WATER

    Cheers

  • Joseph Smith May 12, 2013

    Susan Blackmore studied ESP 30 years and found no evidence to support it. Distinguished philosopher and cultural historian Richard Tarnas, in a 30 year study, found consistent correspondence between planetary alignments and the archetypal patterns of human history. Quantum physicist and brain doctor Evan Harris Walker noted that Einstein did not believe in a personal God yet he sought to bring order to the universe by a unified field idea. We see that objective reality is a flawed and incomplete conception of reality, said Walker. The only thing that works is a personal God, he noted.

    "In earth as it is in heaven," said Jesus, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God." Jesus said the kingdom of God is in you. He distinguished earth and heaven as being material, and you as spiritual. We need to take into consideration that the universe is both quantitative and qualitative. Then we'll find evidence that ESP is real.

  • Joseph Smith May 12, 2013

    The cutting edge of science has now admitted that without consciousness nothing could exist. From nothing you get nothing. What else? Consciousness is the something without boundary. Through conscious awareness, we transcend time and space. What we are capable of knowing is limitless, and we're not the only intelligent beings in the universe. We could soon be part of a galactic community. By the way, what happened to the Neanderthals?

  • Joseph Smith May 12, 2013

    Authorities are people respected as better educated in their fields, therefore, someone qualified to give advice. I learned the hard way. Which would you say is better, a PhD or 87 years of experience? I listen to what the authorities have to offer and base it on my personal experience. In my twilight years, I'm counting my blessings.

  • NoetPoet May 11, 2013

    Perhaps professional scientists tend to remain sceptical because they want to be as clear and sure as possible about what is going on. I've read that Charles Darwin's approach was to come up with a theory and then keep trying to disprove it. I think this approach is reflective of the scientific approach in general, so if by sceptical you mean "never willing to accept as finally proven" then scepticism is a good thing.

    The human element is also important. Scientists worry about their reputation and egos like everyone else, and this is not as childish as it might initially seem. For example if a scientist were to test a yogi's special abilities and conclude that they were real, only for it later to emerge that the yogi had duped the scientist with an elaborate illusion worthy of a world-class stage magician, then the scientist's reputation and career would be destroyed and the scientist would be personally humiliated. Given that yogis have been known to fake extraordinary abilities in the past, it would be quite understandable if a scientist didn't want to expose him/herself to such a risk. I think that most scientists would actually jump at the chance to discover something truly ground-breaking, but the risk of being duped by charlatans is a strong deterrent to investigating the abilities of yogis. As such it is difficult to find a scientists willing to investigate the abilities of yogis who are not a) delusional fantasists desperate to believe that miracles are real or b) dogmatic sceptics determined to prove the non-existence of all things paranormal. This situation creates a vicious circle in which the study of "paranormal" abilities is increasingly perceived as the domain of loons and debunkers, and that anyone who chooses to enter this field of study can therefore only be either a loon or a debunker.

    We should also consider the yogis' point of view. Even if a yogi's abilities are genuine, the yogi might get benefits from their abilities such as political power, money, sex, fame, the devotion of followers, and reinforcement of his/her own sense of holiness. If a scientist did come up with a scientific/materialistic explanation for a yogi's abilities (e.g. by showing they are a product of neurological processes or DNA) then the yogi's claims to divinity could be seriously undermined, causing the yogi to lose access to those benefits.

    The personal incentives and risks facing both scientists and yogis pose a major obstacle to discovering the full range of human potential. Overcoming this obstacle will require considerable courage, integrity, selflessness and vision from scientists and yogis alike.

  • bestearth May 10, 2013

    The mainstream scientist is afraid of what he doesn't know and his career is based on a fixed body of knowledge. At college i had a math professor come in, walk out in front of the bank of seats, present the course notes with two hands held up to his mouth , he blew hard and all this dust flew up into the air filling the front section with dust, people were coughing and he proudly said."these notes haven't changed in 30 years of teaching them, the only thing that changed is the year date on the front cover.

    I heard someone call the current situation " reverse Galileo" where it used to be the scientist who was the out of box thinker and the cold hearted authoritarian priests of religions demanded you subscribe to their theories on faith. But now tables have turned. The religions are opening up, accepting women as priests , accepting gay people into their congregations, tolerant of hybrid and new age spirituality. And now you all know the new priests are some of the more 'everything is brain' type scientists who demand you accept their nihilism on faith and that you regard the mysteries as a fraud.

    I found the Garden of Dreams game from Ions really interesting way to develop your intuition EHC. Here's the site www.psiarcade.com

  • Jeanine Broderick Jan 24, 2013

    OK, there is something else I need to say.

    I see, in mainstream science, a lack of depth to their inquiries.

    For example, the disparate health results among minorities and/or those raised in rough conditions.

    Then the off-setting influence of a caring and loving Mom that can offset the health disparity for those who do not remain in poverty for life.

    Then take the disparity of health outcomes for people with income of $60,000 with the same cost of living. For those surrounded by others who make roughly the same the health is better than those who have wide variations of income around them with $60,000 being near the lower end -- even though their $60,000 buys the same goods, services and medical care as those in the more homogeneous environment with the same income.

    They take the jump (totally unsupported) that the solution is less income disparity!

    The solution is that the ones in the more homogeneous group do not find fault with themselves, do not find themselves lacking when comparing themselves to others around them while the ones who are in a more disparate income environment find fault with themselves thus experiencing more negative emotion. The health benefits of positive emotion are well documented. Just the meta-analysis from Harvard (pub 7/2012) shows a 50% decline in RISK of getting heart disease when positive emotions and optimism are higher. Now that will give you a disparate health outcome. We don't need to change the social structure of the world. We need to teach people how the negative thoughts impact their experience (they also reduce success, cognitive ability, and earning power-more mainstream research supports this) and give them skills to find more positive thoughts. We need to do the same with those raised in rough environments--that is why the supportive Mom's make a difference. The ones with a supportive Mom are kinder to themselves in their thoughts and probably have a higher opinion of self. The same Harvard meta-analysis showed that the absence of negative emotions was not the same as the presence of positive emotions--neutral does not get the health & other benefits of positive emotions.

    Do the mainstream scientists go this deep? No! They jump to the irrational and unsupported conclusion that it is the disparate income that causes the problem and not the perception (which is absolutely and totally within the control of the perceiver if they are being conscious) and want to turn us all into socialists--totally discounting the value of the motivation to better oneself that propels so many forward. Take that away and you'll see health declines (and productivity declines) become rampant and they'll be scratching their heads wondering where they went wrong!

    All the science is there. The "turn everyone into socialists" concept is a political agenda and the science does not support it. Nor does human thriving research.
    ♡ Jeanine

  • Jeanine Broderick Jan 24, 2013

    Alex John - a word of advice. Be kinder to yourself in your thoughts and words. Your life will be better for it.
    I've really enjoyed reading many of the comments in this post. I especially appreciate all the effort that MysticalSadhu put into his responses. I was also delighted to see someone who referred to himself as a "mainstream scientist" here although his presence and somewhat openness to these ideas makes him slightly out of the norm of mainstream.

    I had an interesting experience. I am not a scientist. I am a scholar who has been studying what makes humans thrive regardless of the source of the information. I use my own guidance to help me separate the wheat from the shaft of what I find. I describe "my guidance" many times on this site so I won't go further here.

    I was invited to participate in a peer reviewed book on resilience this past year. I wrote, edited and had some citations. Then the peer reviewers came back and anything I could not cite to another published work had to be removed. Thankfully I had spent much of the past few years finding scientific support for what I had learned on the spiritual path so I was able to find citations for all the main points I wanted to keep in the paper and my chapter was ultimately included in the book.

    What I found remarkable was there was no room for someone who has been studying this for a long time, and because I am so passionate I spent much of my leisure time as well as work time learning all I can about human thriving to have reached any conclusions that were not already published elsewhere. Much of what I cited was an understanding gained on my spiritual path that I found science to support. I have personal experiences with many individuals who have made remarkable improvements, overcome chronic depression and completely shifted their lives to not only better -- but far better than most would have thought possible -- overcoming and re-framing early traumas and dramas that haunt many people for life. Yet if I was unable to find the science to support it -- it was thrown out. I was so thankful that my focus the last few years has been on devouring the science support so I could build bridges to help more people learn to thrive.

    It gave me great insight as to why science moves so slowly and why solutions to problems take so long to reach the people who need the help.

    That is my only real frustration. I see the solutions to many problems but because mainstream science does not support it - it is not reaching the people who need it. I would really like to not wait another generation or two or three for the solutions to get where they are needed most. They are so simple and so easy and so beneficial.

    ♡ Jeanine

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Dec 24, 2012

    Scientist such as Susan Blackmore studied ESP for 30 years and found that no evidence to support it.
    There is a vast misunderstanding that it is not in the interest of the sciences to investigate claims. Certainly IONS is applying scientific methods into its research. But why is it even necessary for science to establish the validity of something if it is true?

  • parker Dec 24, 2012

    If indeed a "modern perspective" exists, it most certainly holds every characteristic of an ancient one; that of skepticism which is inherently an aspect of human nature. Science remains skeptical, because in addition to their skeptical human nature, scientists have been specially trained and programmed to be scientific. The scientific method of proving that which makes it into scientific lore, does not favor that form of immeasurable, yet practical common sense also inherent to human nature, that enables recognition of the human potential, and which by its very existence, overrides any need for, or justification by scientific proof.

    It is obvious then, that the inherent shortcomings of science and its scientists, are not to be blamed for marginalizing or ignoring human potential, it is merely that science is simply incapable based upon its own limited protocols. Seeing that the original questions were posed by the IONS Staff, perhaps the better question would now be; "Why would anyone suspect that science could validate the human potential, when in fact, science cannot even recognize it?"

    Thus it is proper that science (as science has defined itself), marginalizes and ignores human potential. Likewise it is proper that we resist temptation to seek validation of the vastness of our human potential from such a constricted source.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Otto Krog Nov 24, 2012

    Does anyone share the experience with the oneness in SpaceTime with me? I think that the only thing we have in common as spiritual beings is space and time. What do you think? www.crestroy.com

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Nov 22, 2012

    Science is only a religion to those that believe in an ethos version of science and do not participate in its practice or in learning its methods

  • Anonymous Icon

    Otto Krog Nov 17, 2012

    Science of today has become more or less a religion. The good thing is that the religion is on its move. It is not impossible to change dogma, but definitely not easy either.

    www.crestroy.com
    Otto Krog

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Oct 30, 2012

    A young friend and PhD candidate that I correspond with, Mitch Smith, wrote the following about the Buddhist Attachment Cycle:

    "It would be useful to get FRMI images showing the axonic topology of a Hindi or Buddhist adept for comparison to the non-adept structure.
    Are you aware of any such investigations that have been attempted?
    I indicate that the core self somehow undergoes a capitulation of identity from the true core to the accreted delta body used to instantiate each new intra-personal "dyad" - aka "self image". Meditational techniques might be refined by having a physical demonstration of the exact structures that correspond to the initial state, the capitulation, and those that correspond to a reset of the initial state.
    It is all very well showing the dynamics of the topological potentials. But the "attention frame" phenomenon also needs examination.
    Has any work been done on that?
    I can understand that internal/external sensory cues can precipitate topological chains of association, but at the moment, I cannot see the factor that determines the breadth of that causality (the frame governing breadth of consciousness - the focus/concentration factor)."

  • sashank.macharla Oct 29, 2012

    Our true potentials as science calls it have mostly been part of a more non-human entity - either divine or demonic, as in the widespread and long held beliefs in the west. Naturally, if there is someone who claims to be in possession of these 'divine' powers, he is ridiculed and sometimes ignored because most minds simply cannot accept the fact that it is human too.
    and because our modern science took its birth in such societies which had this strict discrimination between humans and god on the basis of these abilities, it just seemed absurd and superstitious to it - so much in fact that it refused to look into these and even when it did and found them for real, unconsciously chose to ignore them because its a mind set that's been coming down from quite sometime.
    and its a good thing that this is not the case anymore.
    because science just said that to be truly and fully human is to be divine.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Otto Krog Oct 26, 2012

    I think the culture we live in, here in the western world, has deep roots in the middle ages. At that time the Church had full control, and suppressed scientists that observed facts that didn't fit into the Bible. Science took ower control during the last 150 years, and now they don't want to give religion (spirituality) back it's power. I think this is ok, but science has become more or less a religion itself. Einstein is the profet, the speed of light is the holy ghost, and Big Bang is the allmighty.

    Fortunately most scientists aren't that fundamental in their beliefs, and they accept new observations when they are valid.

    The future will bring observations that will change physics.

    I might very well be wrong, but I have my own theory and guesses about what futuristic physics will be like.

    My idea is that antimatter is the mirror of this universe.

    I think that the subconscious mind and consciousness are located in parallel universes in the form of antimatter. That makes the spirit and God all physical, so basically I could be said to be an atheist, even though I consider myself spiritual.

    If you would like to know more, then check out my theory at

    www.crestroy.com

  • Ponsie Oct 13, 2012

    What we hear of science's 'opinion' is mostly through the materialistic culture it is imbedded in. Science is, I think, not an opinion, it is an attitude, an intention to discover the truth, and it can do this in any realm including the metaphysical realm. Unfortunately our cultural priorites bow to the demands of its paymaster which is almost exclusively physical security. My particular interest is in healing so, for me, a good example of this cultural predicament is reflected in the supposed scientific basis of the pharmaceutical industry and the medical establishment which supports it: the joke is, this notion of a scientific application is pretty much limited to acute medical situations and ignores the critical information that all our experiences of suffering are psychological (ie rooted in the psyche) and are not physical. This one-sided view of existence (clearly evident if you Google 'iatrogenic') explains, from one angle, the difficulty of engaging main-stream 'science' on the profound effects of human consciousness.

  • telephoenician Oct 08, 2012

    Chemistry derives from alchemy. Philosophy and mathematics are the same subject; cf syllogistic calculus. Once upon a time, if you said 'calculus,' you'd've been referring to the syllogistic variety. The list goes on... astronomy/astrology...

    But science is science, and magick is magick, and ne'er the twain shall meet.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Oct 07, 2012


    There is a question posted on the discussion board that asks if science bashing exits. Isn't the term "mainstream science" a vague and some what derogatory term. The "S" in INOS stands for Science. IONS has a vested invest in pursuing "scientific" explanation for PSI. I might understand if this question was posted by someone other than "IONS Staff."

  • telephoenician Oct 06, 2012

    It's the stuff they teach you in school. Safe, boring, peer-reviewed... funded... The others are all mad.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Oct 06, 2012

    What exactly is "mainstream science?"

  • Anonymous Icon

    iamonesoru Jun 13, 2012

    Our beliefs about what is possible and what is not possible are much more important than we “believe”. Because we do not really know what is ultimately “true” everything we believe to be true is true for us now, from our perspective or point of view, which is based on what we believe to be true.

    We have been taught to ridicule ancient yogic lore, not because it is ultimately true, but because our belief that we might also have remarkable capacities might cause us to explore the possibilities of our own potential, and through changing our beliefs, we might possibly begin to manifest remarkable capabilities ourselves.

    This is seen as dangerous by those who profit by our beliefs that we need someone more powerful than us to protect us, lead us, fight for us, or intercede with a greater power in our behalf. If we realized that we are just as powerful as “them”, why would we “need” them?

    Systematic science does not believe in the power of belief, and so they deny its potential, even when they see it demonstrated with their own eyes precisely because belief is so powerful, and this has been proven through quantum mechanics as what we misunderstand as “quantum non-locality”.

    We must admit that we misunderstand it because we have not come to fully realize and understand the full implications of what quantum non-locality really means. The same can be said of relativity.

    Certain concepts such as meditation, re-incarnation, and the chakra system, are misunderstood for this same reason, and have been ridiculed, and even demonized, in order to keep us from giving them serious consideration so that we cannot come to fully realize and understand the full implications of their meanings, or learn how important a practical understanding of these things are to basically every aspect of our lives.

  • slowlygetnthar Jun 09, 2012


    In April of 2012, I was at a conference which was attended by some notable physicists, neuroscientists and science journalists. When a college student, in the audience, asked a panel of them what they thought about these sorts of "extended human capacities" that were demonstrated by yogis, lamas, & practicing lay people, the response was "I haven't seen any valid research on these sorts of things."

    It was like a bolt of lightning. The reason mainstream science doesn't validate this stuff is because most scientists who have "made it" in their disciplines do not take the time to LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE. So, when you run across these folks, start sending them IONS research. Then, they cannot rely on this lame excuse as a reason to poo-poo some genuinely breath-taking scientific investigation into remarkable phenomena.

  • parker Mar 27, 2012

    I do not personally know any Yogis, so my thoughts on their perceived abilities are not worthy. I did spend some time with a Monk that meditated religiously for nearly 40 years, and then abruptly stopped the practice. When I asked him what his most valuable lesson learned from his meditation might be, he quickly replied that he had learned 2 valuable lessons.

    First, he finally learned during the last few minutes of his final meditation, that he had always possessed the one thing he had believed for all that time he must search for. And second, his time spent meditating had robbed him of 40 years he could have spent actually using and benefiting from that thing he now realized he had all along. What he sought, turned out not to be the mystical mystery his brothers had led him to believe.

    Then perchance we met, and he found me willing, so he graciously took a few moments and shared what he learned in his final few minutes of meditation with me, and so I have done with many who have been willing since then,

    Thus being humbled into such an acceptance of what is, we were all enabled to continually enjoy what many others would a "Yogi's special abilities", or perhaps "noetic" experiences, yet we merely learned to experience the fullness of the joy and of the knowledge that is the experience of the life that was always within each of us.

    Some are blessed with healing or being able to heal, some with powers to influence or to manifest, some able to move or alter shapes of objects, some with wisdom and understanding of the great mysteries, others with the knowledge to solve great difficulties, to end conflicts or to balance inequalities, but none of them have been called Yogi, notwithstanding many Yogis may have also learned to do these things.

    The greatest ability of all, is not when we learn to share these abilities, rather it is when we learn to share the benefits of these abilities. Then we are capable of the joyous fulfillment of our temporal purpose, for we will be doing that which is our collective temporal purpose - to share.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Dallon Mar 26, 2012

    I have to admit I did not read those comments.. However, i believe that the unwillingness of the scientific community to accept PSI abilities is because the scientific view of our reality is so limited at this point. I think this will change very soon. Not because of some "awakening, prophecy" etc. but because evidence of this behavior is growing. Interestingly I believe it is the growth of this behavior *as many others do* that actually leads to more instances of this mind matter interaction being present in the world. I do not believe this is simply because we are now paying attention to them but because as the realization of this possibility dawns on people it will become easier for everyone as a whole to manifest these abilities.

  • Saoirse Dec 31, 2011

    "If they can't explain it, it doesn't exist."

    This make no sense in the context of science. If it were true, science itself would not exist as a method, because there would be nothing to study. Modern medicine would not exist. We would not be searching for cures for diseases -- because if we didn't understand the cause of the disease, we wouldn't accept its existence, so how would we study it? Science is about looking for explanations for things we don't fully understand yet. But it's not about accepting our beliefs and wishes as reality. Its purpose is to take our observations and ideas and test them empirically, so that we don't fall into the trap of believing only what we find appealing to us. If you had to have surgery, would you rather have it done by a trained surgeon or by someone making it up as he goes along, based only on beliefs he finds appealing? Would you rather the anesthesia be one that's been tested and found safe and effective, or one that's never been tested? There's a lot of antiscience rhetoric on the site, but I wonder how many of the members would be content to live with the conditions that existed before the scientific method was developed.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Sky Walker Sep 07, 2011

    Because it has been deliberately suppressed in the mainstream science, and because scientists haven't been willing to look at the facts ie to actually go and investigate yogis for full.

  • Metaphysicist2 Aug 04, 2011

    Mainstream science remains sceptical, because of the conditioning of the mind in our public education system, which is agnostically oriented (there is no Deity, or spirit, or energising, immortal self), and foolishly believe that mystical, heavenly experiences are delusional or psychotic. I submited a paper¹ in 2002 to Dr. Edgar Mitchell, in response to his: “Nature’s Mind: The Quantum Hologram, in which I said that I had the answer, or technical metaphysical rationale for, “…the energy transfer mechanism by which the classical states of a remote object are affected.” The answer was/is “the law of attraction,” however, Dr. Mitchell, being admittedly agnostically oriented at the time, rejected the answer, because it was/is a “metaphysical assumption” or conjecture. In May of 2010 I ran across his Quantrek website and, after reading his “Dyadic Model of Consciousness,” realised that he had changed his mind, subsequently, I submitted a letter in response in June, and he responded favorably to it. So, hopefully, it’s just a matter of a short period of time before he and “his team” work out the mathematical formalism, receive the Nobel Prize in Physics, and inaugurate a new scientific paradigm.

    ¹ http://www.qdeansloan.com/papers/pdf/natures%20mind%20the%20quantum%20hologram.pdf

  • Leigh Aug 01, 2011

    I believe, generally, there is one extraordinary being in every hundred, no matter what his or her profession, skill, or gift. While the percentage of proficient yogis might be high, not all yogis will be blessed with remarkable, proven abilities, though with practice and genuine devotion, more will prove their proficiency to the scientific community.

  • Youngbear Roth, RYT/CYT Jul 12, 2011

    Certain yogis have remarkable—and proven—abilities. Why does mainstream science remain skeptical?

    Science is dynamic and often courageous, however, its fundamental purpose is to understand and learn to control what is here - what is finite - through repeated laboratory measurement; a finite method of proof.

    Yoga siddhis (abilities) are meta-finite, they are beyond the finite. Perhaps science can configure blind studies to measure the results of siddhis (healing; mind control as body effects; etc.). Still, the scientific method of finite measurement cannot (thus far) track the cause, abilities, or siddhis themselves. Yoga is also dynamic and often courageous, however, its fundamental purpose is to understand and learn to control the meta or infinite through the finite. This purpose demands an acceptance of finite proof (such as laboratory measurement) as well as an acceptance of the theoretical - faith, the measurement of elementals which are meta in nature.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dre3733 Jun 16, 2011

    Im not a yogi, or anything close to it but I am occasioally capable of things that I cant even explain. I have a fairly consistant ability to well... see the future for lack of a better term. Dont know how to use it really, cant control it but coming from a totally intellectual place It seems well over due to openly research the abilities of man that may seem to skeptical people to be impossible. We clearly have something a touch different from all the other animals on this planet. Lots of different kinds of animals that have been here in many cases longer than us... but for some reason we are the only group for which the proverbial lights have come on. Why?

  • Walter Cruttenden May 22, 2011

    Great question. We could just as well ask, why was a heliocentric system not accepted 500 years ago in spite of the evidence? The yogis themselves have answered the question.

    Both Paramahansa Yogananda and Sri Yukteswar have stated, in “Autobiography of a Yogi” and “The Holy Science”, that as the solar system moves through space the earth goes through alternating Dark and Golden Ages; something Plato called the Great Year. In the lower ages we understand little and in the higher ages wisdom knows no bounds. We are just barely out of the recent Dark Age and mankind still knows almost nothing of the lost wisdom or advanced states of consciousness in general. But just as spring follows winter so too are we now in an awakening phase and will soon understand the larger cycles and much more, including the science underlying yogic abilities. By the year 4100AD, according to these sages, “telepathy and clairvoyance will once again be common knowledge”. In the meantime its nice to know the Institute of Noetic Sciences has created a platform for discussion of the higher truths.

  • Fallensoul May 22, 2011

    morrisha:Commentin on your response to PathOfDivineLife.

    A true yogi understands that if you feed a person today, tomorrow they are hungry again. The problem of hunger remains. All you have provided is symptomatic relief and while this is a valuable thing, a noble thing -- it is not the ultimate solution. Why am I being challenged by hunger and thirst in the first place? You may be able to find a cure for one disease, and provide temporary symptomatic relief -- which has its value, but why am I being challenged by disease in the first place? Why am I in ignorance? So a yogi, gaining knowledge from higher authorities, focuses his energy and time in solving the root of the problem and tries to help others do the same. So whose contribution is minimal to human affairs? Symptomatic treatment which can be summed up as: "Operation successful, patient died." or the yogi's contribution of transcending the miseries of this world headed by death, disease, old-age and rebirth.

    Even if we consider the "untrue" yogi -- who has some extraordinary power and may be using that for his selfish interests. The point is that his powers go against the bedrock of modern science belief. That we're material in nature and that the physical laws of nature are all that operates. So the mystic yogi directly challenges mainstream science - its strong evidence that something interesting is going on - and if their acquisition of powers has been attained through some higher source of knowledge -- what is that and what else do they say about these powers and other things? This is the point of the discussion. This has direct impact on our society, who is currently under the grip of materialistic dogmatism as these mystic yogi's, the genuine ones, are powerful exceptions to the materialistic rule. See Prahlad Jani for instance -- claims to not eat or drink or use the bathroom. No explanation after observing him for over a month.

    Regarding your rather benighted statements about yoga and ayurveda. Have you even ever tried yoga and ayurvedic medicines or have practical experience of the medicines or some practice of yoga?? If by taking the ayurvedic "placebo" -- it consistently works on the body's "unconscious ability" to heal itself, then maybe it isnt a placebo at all. If by performing bhakt-yoga you actually develop your relationship with the Supreme, then that's one great placebo.

    I agree with you that a true yogi is not a modern scientist. A true yogi is a true scientist i.e one who is able to accept that our reality is outside empirical methods and that higher spiritualism is very much a part of reality. A scientist is interested in understanding reality wherever it leads.

    Regarding Jill: Reincarnation, nde's and obe's completely challenge this idea. One can also be fully conscious with only half of either brain.

    Could it be that the Eastern science yogis simply have a better textbook than the mainstream scientists? More interesting? What else is revealed?

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    morrisha May 03, 2011

    @PathofDivineLife,

    "A true yogi lives for society and the downtrodden"

    How so, and, so what ? They do not feed people, give them knowledge to ease their breaking backs, cure them of their diseases with any regularity beyond placebo effects. In fact, their contribution to human affairs remains and has always been, minimal. Paramahansa Yogananda did not appear to be a miracle man parading his unusual talents in a Barnham and Bailey freak show, rather his concept of self realisation was all about transcending ego consciousness and attaining god realisation. Miracle men appeared to be merely side shows to stimulate interest in a spiritual greater purpose. I fancy the yogis in his book were either confidence tricksters or more likely persons with no special talent in the first place.

    "Yoga, Ayurveda (the medical practice of Vedic age based on herbs etc), Healing, etc are all gifts from the true yogis"

    Poppycock - this stuff is a placebo effect that works on the bodies unconscious ability to heal itself when unencumbered by the ego, the mind or the psychological soup that allows stress to block natural healing.

    "Yogis are also scientists"

    Absolutely not. They are at best people that might assist someone to aspire to a higher spiritualism. Under no circumstances do they provide a scientific prescription for anything.

    Consider what happened to Jill Bolte Taylor, [http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html] she appears to show that there is a neuroscientific base to "self realisation". Could it be that these yogis have sufficiently mucked about with their brains blood oxygenation to emulate her experience and dress it up as holy science? Given a choice, I think I would rather take LSD!

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    PathofDivineLife May 03, 2011

    @ Morrisha...Hello ! Your concerns are very true...Many Yogis get into the demonstration of Siddhis to generate popularity for themselves. The common people like us call these as miracles and these techniques allure people into throwing big $$ into their coffers. A true yogi lives for society and the downtrodden. Numerous examples of such yogis are available specially in Indian literature I suggest you to read 'Autobiography of a Yogi'. This is fantastic book. An eye opener about life of a yogi.

    Yoga, Ayurveda (the medical practice of Vedic age based on herbs etc), Healing, etc are all gifts from the true yogis to the society and these techniques have gained wide acceptance today. There are many cases where spiritual science has come to the rescue when medical science has been unable to address.

    Yogis are also scientists. They confine themselves in remote & lonely locations just like modern scientists do by confining themselves in their laboratories. They use nature and their body as laboratory. They show us the path of awakening divine qualities within. An awakened person is a gift of God to the society. He/She alone can uplift many individuals from the state of suffering by sheer power of consciousness which the equipments like computer, machines can not achieve.

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    morrisha May 02, 2011

    Certain yogis have remarkable—and proven—abilities. Why does mainstream science remain skeptical?

    What has a single yogis contributed to human affairs beyond parlour tricks and human endurance exercises so easily replicated by the likes of David Blaine and Derren Brown.

    What machines, computers, technologies, chemistry or science has come from the pen of a yogi employing siddhi powers? The reality is, the content of their consciousness does not extend to providing something useful that we can all use or even seek to replicate.

    I expect for poor and uneducated peoples, these yogis provide some sort of spiritual comfort, but for the scientific community they remain an irritating distraction from the real business of moving humanity on in its study of the universe and the dominion man might seek to have over it..

    Sure, there are likely to be areas of cross over and joint understanding, but until these holy men/women provide reasons, explanations and testable theories that can help move the debate on, they are a waste of time.

  • slowlygetnthar Apr 28, 2011

    Oh, Tommy07777...sure hope she changes conselors....I was recently working with a college writing teacher, discussing student essays. She wanted to fail any student who referred to souls or meditation. She was not a religious person. She was an aspiritual person and could tolerate no reference to spiritual inspiration of any kind. So, it is not just scientists enforcing silence about the great mysteries. Some young people are losing semesters worth of work because they ventured to posit that perhaps something was "good for their souls" or they mentioned meditating or dreamt of yogic levitation!!!

    I see dismissals as "failures to communicate." When these happen, they sure do seem like knee-jerk, fear-based reactions. I think your are right, in that "scientists" (and aspiritual writing teachers) are not comfortable stepping outside of their clearly defined boxes. I have met very few scientists who will do so.

    Anyway, I do find some hope in the way that, somewhat organically, common people are slowly evolving scientific methodologies for trying to comprehend paranormal events. These will inevitably precipitate what will become bonafide sciences. It may take a very long time...but there is *hope*

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    tommyo777 Apr 26, 2011

    Some authorities, scientific & otherwise seem to deploy a fair amount of emotional energy in maintaining their position against what they won't accept, as well; the 'flustered dismissals' of concepts outside of the norm, reek of insecurity. Or is it absolute faith in their knowledge, as in the response given to Galileo, to the effect of: I refuse to look into your telescope, to view something that my religion tells me does not exist-

    She's not a yogi, so this may be a bit OT; apologies in advance. My Wife has chosen a counselor for uncovering some childhood memories, and made the mistake of mentioning the insights that she regularly gets: some simple, as when the son lost his wallet, Wifey says after some thought, "check by the side of the house", where it was promptly found; deeper insights as well...well of course, the counselor is now more concerned with educating her that she's mistaken/delusional to think that she has any such ability, than to help her with the task for which he was commissioned.

  • slowlygetnthar Apr 25, 2011


    Sciences have not yet evolved to where they can measure the spirit, the weight of the soul, or the range of human capabilities.

    As the sciences are now, funding for research is not granted for the paranormal, articles aren't published in peer reviewed journals if they are about topics like levitating yogis, and the folks who go ahead and do the research on their own nickels are regarded as quacks. They are not granted time at conferences to present their ideas and may be laughed out of professional circles. We don't get research into these sorts of things because folks who have worked to get higher degrees won't stake their hard-earned careers fighting their predominantly narrow-minded peers. Moreover, they would have to struggle against the very highly controlled system of information validation, by going out on a limb to investigate what science has determined to be pseudoscience/paranormal/spiritual/esoteric/metaphysical. Very few people have that integrity--making me deeply respect Edgar Mitchell for taking the risk and founding IONS.

    Well, the word "science" means "to know," but what does science know?--only how to hypothesize, verify, replicate, and validate what it already knows. Change sciences to be called "hypothetical explanations of reality." Let "scientists" reposition themselves to that new definition of what they do, and then, set about their work. Only then, will we see more humility in that realm in trying to decipher spiritual realms of this existence. What is that quote: Science may someday discover what faith has always known. . .?

    Our souls are omniscient, so let's listen to them. In the meantime, foster hope and encourage these Medieval "scientist" clods measuring everything to catch up to what our souls already know.

  • cprize Apr 19, 2011

    Science and most credible orgs are run by disbelievers. How can you expect them to accept what they think is not possible? Even David Suzuki (a noted Canadian scientist/broadcaster) doesn't believe SHC is possible. Their fear of ridicule and being perceived as gullible is greater than their ability to believe. How many years after the Wright Bros flew at Kittyhawk was it that scientists were still saying heavier than air flight was impossible? How many still say it is impossible for someone to walk barefoot over burning coals and not get burnt? Or how can a fakir www.cprize.org/fakir.jpg (no longer permitted to be buried underground) do this?

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    wolvie14 Mar 24, 2011

    I remember, as a young child, reading about a yogi that during a night dried towels that were soaked with frezing water with his body heat. The number of towels he dried was astonishing.

    I feel that scientists, at least most of them, have evolved as to negate the very existence of anything spiritual. They seem to want humans to be limited. They seem to want the Universe to be a random event. So, anything that challenge their spiritual-free worldview is dismissed.

    It seems to be a reaction to the religious right predominence in society. These 2 groups are making bridging the gap between science and spirituality harder.

  • akash Mar 23, 2011

    I like the topic and am proud to be an indian ..What answer you need is just get an authenthic translation of Indian tantric and shaktheyic principles
    Authenticity is word i used and i mean it....yogis have remarkable and proven power...through their continous practice they can realise who they really are.
    One more thing i really wanted to say is about the pqwer of Mantras...Live aspect and pwer of mantra is hidden in sound which cannot be gained and learnt by reading from an inanimate pages of abokk,for which a guru;s help is needed. The scientist on the basis of their resaerch observed that impact of sound is dependent up on the intensity, vibration and dimension.Hreem, kleem,Shreem,kreem etc are certain mantras which i was unable to find any specific meaning..but spelled in a particular way it can creat particular vibration throuh out the body and the aura will be more at that timee...
    There should be adiscusion about the power of sound...........

  • marcusantonio91 Mar 19, 2011

    If I'm honest, even with all the evidence there is pointing to seperate conciousness from the brain, yogic abilities, psi and so on; even I, find it so hard to sometimes contemplate the implications of all this data. Science today is based on the 'materialistic, clockwork universe' and the vast majority of people are conditioned in that way even me to a degree. It is like trying to present a creationist with evidence for evolution, the fight or flight reaction kicks in and they resist. The same is with mainstream science; you rock the boat and they react and unfortunately, if upcoming scientists follow the Dawkins mantra then phenomena and all the evidence for PSI will perpetually be swept away

  • frequencytuner Mar 14, 2011

    Mainstream views the universe through a set of glasses, a filter, a perspective. It can provide half of the equation, but only half. The other half comes from the Yogis, Buddhas, Shaman and Mystics and prophets and esoteric teachings and Alchemists, but it is through an entirely equal and opposite set of glasses: one sees black the other sees white but if you take off their glasses they would both see grey: the "complete equation": Mushin.

    This resonates outward from the individual. Why hasn't our individual mainstream consciousness allowed these opposites to peacefully co-exist? What are we afraid of? There is no "Us and Them". Why do we think we are separate beings? This can only be experienced the way we experience it right now within this infinitesimal window of existence because have not done it yet ourselves: removed our own glasses.

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    EthanT Mar 14, 2011

    Most scientists seem to feel that these abilities have never been demonstrated within proper controlled laboratory settings, and therefore they can always claim that some external factor tainted the results, or simply claim that people are just making stuff up.

    This is the whole premise behing the Amazing Randi's ( a popular skeptic/debunker ) million dollar prize - that is, that if anybody can demonstrate ESP, or some sort of psychic ability, in the controlled environment proposed, they get a million dollars. I've never looked into his proposed setup, but I am sure it totally misunderstands what ESP is all about. Some have said the whole thing is rigged, but I've never heard any clear explanation on just how so?

    I think Daryl Bem's recent paper is the closest we've come to any sort of demonstration that will be accepted by scientists, and look at the contoversy still surrounding this (and it makes you wonder why Radin and many others haven't been acknowledged yet, since they have already done similar work). And, let's face it, it's not the strongest proof of ESP in the world!! 53.2%?? It even has me, a full-fledged "believer" in ESP wondering if there is really anything to it.

    Bottom line - In general, the current paradigm and mind-set that scientists and skeptics work in is not capable of accepting ESP or similar human abilities. The materialistic mind cannot get a handle on them. It needs a mechanism to envision, and it needs to be "reduced" into the reductionistic paradigm the scientific community has comfortablly ensconced itself into. Thankfully, we do see a hint of change away from that these days and a potential for greater acceptance in the future.

    Also, on the side of science, I don't think we have that many people that are talented enough and consistent enough to demonstrate this to them either? Somebody that can do better than 53.2% and do it within the lab consistently? Do we? If we do, why haven't they done so, to help us bridge this gap between science and spirit? I think we are in a place where something like this can finally be done, and the scientific community can begin a slow (and maybe painful?) acceptance.

  • desertrose Mar 14, 2011

    We are living in a "gizmo dominated" society. Anything that requires deep introspection and heaven forbid silence is frowned upon and deemed "uncool", "square, oudated." Sad but true. Hopefully, due unfortunatly to the onset of these cataclysmic occurences we as human beings will understand what is truly happening and realize that at times not even science in all its glorious magnificance can be prepared for it. Only a return to innocence and sacred silence can blanket and undo this mess we have created and are continuing to create. The power is in all of us to do and to undo. I need nothing to prove this to me as I believe wholheartedly in the power of the art mediation. In my humble opinion, hen we get science out of the Corporate Boadrooms things will begin to move in a more positive direction.

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    Kerian Mar 13, 2011

    Early science was entirely based on belief, religion and superstition. The scientific revolution that took place in the middle ages and the renaissance ran out of hand. Many beliefs based on superstitious predjudice got withlaid and ever since one has been very cautious to believe in the supernatural powers of people. Science is acquired knowledge and it is based on empirical experiments that can be reproduced. Opportunist quackery has added to that caution. Moreover organisations tend to put certain leaders on a pedestal on the basis of misplaced loyalty and the lack of a charismatic anchor.
    My personal approach to everyone and everything , including science, is a critical approach. There is no reason, but for being gullible, to give anyone credit unless they prove being worthy of it on a regular basis. Is that not what the psi arcade projects of the noetic institute are about. Selecting people that are gifted with intuitive intelligence, healing powers, visionary powers, etc.?
    Not withstanding all of the above I am convinced that certain yogis, healers, martial art masters and others have developped amazing powers.

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    Faith Mar 08, 2011

    The film with Amit Goswami Ph.d. "The Quantum Activist" really explains this so well. One needs a different science to explain these yogis abilities and quantum mechanics can.

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    Liberty23 Mar 08, 2011

    Mainstream science research depends on funding and it's funding comes from sources that are ultimately interested in patents and profits - something marketable.

    If Kriya Yoga could be grown in the ground from seed it would become illegal just as Nature's wonder plant, Cannabis/Hemp, has been criminalized.

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    longshorts Mar 02, 2011

    I see paragraphs of words from learned people. However, mainstream science depends on these things: simply put, if you cannot see it, touch it, measure it, whatever "it" is, then it doesn't exist. Mainstream scientists are so limited to such a narrow view, they are so restricted that they cannot take a leap of faith to span across the conscious mind to the common mind that the world has produced. I am a communications specialist for the Navy, and for over thirty years I have seen and heard things that the extensive training I have had cannot explain. I have even heard my own voice through the receiver six seconds later after I have ended transmission, and there is no logical explanation for that to happen at all. Yet I did hear it, so I have to accept it. I believe that in all the technological advances we have had, we have neglected the most serious technology that we all have - the Human mind.

  • mysticmuse Jan 09, 2011

    Scientists are human beings.

    Some scientists have made a religion of science, or scientism and so consciously or unconsciously defend it.

    Some scientists are still conditioned by fundamentalists religion and so consciously or unconsciously defend that.

    Some scientists rebelled against religion, and confusing anything paranormal with religion, defend against that.

    Some scientists have some other philosophic ax to grind and are limited by that.

    Many scientist lack, or have lost touch with, the key experiences that should shape their evolving world view.

    Change in science is only partly about reason and research. It is also about change of consciousness.

    I think most persons, including the scientifically minded, do not arrive at open mindedness by reason and external education and research. We believe as we do by virtue of what we are.

    James

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    daebwae Dec 06, 2010

    @duquem:
    Thank you, I think your comments are very constructive. There's another precedence in which a senior Princeton professor, Robert Jahn, founded the PEAR lab to conduct pk research. I'd like to see other researchers to follow his model.

    @frequencyturner:
    Scientists do not believe in a set of truths, they believe in a method to find truth. Even uneasy truths are accepted if the proofs are based on a scientifically sound method. Take the longheld assumption that all life needs water and air to exist. Only a few days ago, NASA researchers published research indicating that modified organism can live without both "essential" life elements. The scientific community seems open to accept these findings, if substantiated, which shows that there's an openness to modify longheld beliefs. In your model the scientists would reject the findings out of hand because of their fear for disorder. They don't.

    But I have researched some of the paranormal findings and do believe that the requirements placed on paranormal research are more stringent than in other fields. In my opinion they are by far too onerous. The theory that paranormal is a taboo is an interesting model to explain this attitude.

    What I'm interested in is another issue and I hope the community can point me to some theories about it. In my mind, laboratory experiments are fine for certain forms of paranormal research but they neglect so much anectodal data and personal experience. I know from my social psychology classes as a fershman that there are other truth findings methods for such research. Are there methods in the noetic sciences that describe a method to verify claims that are irreproducable in labs but may still convince us?

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    EricIAm Dec 04, 2010

    A belief can change ones' perception of reality either focusing or misconstruing ones' understanding. Therefore weekness in ones understanding can be detrimental to that individuals mental wellbeing. Concluding that the safest way to god would be through scripture. If necessary the spirt will quicken the words into understanding, and this path is actually most wise but for unbelievers a second rate truth is necessary for faith which in itself is flawed due to lack of faith. Understand what it means to be of one accord. Be like minded with our bretheren and interested in our heritage, read the bible. Let Jesus Reign.

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    SLH Oct 25, 2010

    Red Dog, because when a bird fails to find food, or a plant is in the shade, if there is understanding there can be a solution.
    When the path is lost, surely we need the means to find our way back to it? Not just take for granted the way will always be clear??

  • RedDog Oct 22, 2010

    Who really cares if "mainstream science remains skeptical"?
    Does it matter to the bird where its food comes from?
    Does a plant care how the sun works?
    How would mainstream proof benefit man kind?
    If the ability already exists, what benefit does a piece of paper offering
    written proof give to you, personally?
    What are you seeking? Truth or personal gain?

  • cameronjcw Oct 08, 2010

    I think any body of science or indeed individuals that refuse to open their mind to spiritual practices are only harming themselves.

    Maybe one day people and science will open up to the unseen but very real possibilities of "being" and existence.

    TCx

    Carolyn

  • MysticalSadhu Sep 21, 2010

    5) Iisitva – Iish means to guide and administer. Iisitva enables the spiritual aspirant to guide other people who suffer from different causes. So many people in this world are crying in pain and agony. So many miseries and afflictions paralyse both physically and mentally. lisitva enables one to correctly lead afflicted humanity to their physical progress and psychic well-being.

    6) Vasitva means to keep everything under control and properly regulated for welfare. In order to bring people goaded by defective ideas to greater thresholds of evolutionary excellence, vasitva is necessary. If people work haphazardly and do not follow ever more progressive path, they cannot be expected to establish a state of welfare for all. So if you really want to help people, you will have to
    inspire and influence them in a positive way, and then direct them along the right path to their goal.

    7) Prakamya means the ability to accomplish whatever one desires, to translate wish into reality with a view to promote universal welfare, to bring light to the entire universe. Through this occult power, spiritual aspirants acquire the capacity to serve the entire world.

    8) Antaryamitva is to enter the ectoplasmic or endoplasmic structure of others and thereby to know their pain and pleasures, their hopes,
    aspirations and longings and to guide them properly. It is somewhat like transmigration of the soul. Regarding this occult power, spiritual cult alone will not suffice. The Universe does not lend this power to sadhakas readily because if they do not possess universal love, it can be abused for personal gains. This power makes the mind so subtle that it can enter the intra- and inter-ectoplasmic mind stuff of every individual as well as the collective human society.

  • MysticalSadhu Sep 21, 2010

    What are the Occult Powers?

    1) Anima means reducing one's psychic existence into a small point, transforming it into a minimum entity. One may understand anything and everything by entering into each and every physical particle and becoming one with the different waves of expressions and emanations, by dancing with the waves of objects and ideas.

    2) Mahima means vastness. The mind can expand to become vast. Its radius may encompass the entire universe and so we acquire ideas about many different subjects without reading books. In this way, too, we may feel our oneness with the varied entities of this
    universe -- unity in variety, unity in diversity. By associating our benevolent thoughts with each and every entity, we will contribute to universal progress and prosperity.

    3) Laghima makes the mind light, free from the bondage of so many liabilities. This carefree mind, freed from so many fetters and bondages, can understand and think clearly. So by dint of this occult power, one may understand any idea, subtle or crude, abstract or concrete. Unless you understand how much pain and sorrow is accumulated in other's minds, how many tears well up in their eyes, you cannot completely alleviate their sorrows and sufferings. Through laghima, your own mind becomes unburdened so you can clearly appreciate the minds of others.

    4) Prapti means helping oneself and helping the souls of so many people to acquire and be benefited by the grace of the Universe.

  • MysticalSadhu Sep 21, 2010

    I made notes and responded to most of the concerns I read from the previous messages. Once I attempted to post the responses a message came mentioning the limited number of characters for a post so I've sectioned out the response into parts.

    Come up with any variation of an occult power, a siddhi, you’ll find they are subsets of these eight siddhis listed below.

    The methods of making these skills more ubiquitous in personal life are available within Tantrika practices, Universal Love being imperative to succeed.

  • MysticalSadhu Sep 21, 2010

    It is said many yogis, from all forms of shamanism, claim there is a “god”. Review for a moment the consistent continuities of the Universe. Look towards compounds, molecules, atoms, subatomic forms, then look more broadly to the skies with its symphony of planets, stars, solar systems, galaxies, nebulae and beyond. The continuities match, right? Now, what about cellular lives? Jillions of cells exist on this planet as independent organisms, yet there are also cells in your body, working together, choreographing their actions in cooperation, and doing so with a continuity so symphonic that such endeavors generate a synergy giving expression, subtler expression on a far grander scale, to beings with a singular concept of self, such as you. Now doesn’t this portend, when we use empirical evidence, that such may be true on a grander scale than ourselves? If we can conceive of the Universe, then it is within us, hologramatically, and by encompassing it wholly, we are going beyond the material limits of our corporal existence. In much the same way that the symphony of you operates as it does, so does the Universe, and certainly there is a centricity of which the Universe is manifest as well, the Chief Operating Officer of its realm. There are terms in Sanskrit for these concerns, I’ll not use them for now.

    The “old guard” must, by force of circumstance, be ever morphed through the progressive momentum into subtler realms of being. The concern is not a tribalism of haute’ inertia worshippers nor is it a matter of ageism, it is a matter of maximum utilization and rational distribution of the mundane, supramundane, physical, metaphysical and spiritual potentialities of the Universe, accessed and made manifest by the avant guard of human evolution, for all these matters of matter and skills of psyche are already available within the Universe, and are a natural part of being human, properly done in an ethical manner facilitating maximum utilization and rational distribution of all such resources in a progressive manner.

    The vast majority of siddhis performable by humans are contained within, are operative within the fifth dimension. The process for accessing these skills are within Tantrika practice and come naturally to people, including “primitives” who are also born human and with their uncomplicated lives are more attentive to contemplating nature and the Universe, giving them ready access to such skills unfettered by fussy imperialistic dogmas of predatory religions and avaricious stupors borne of consumptionistic dementias.

    While doubt may seem like one of several emotions, it can also be a mechanical device by which we circumambulate around a notion with both detachment and discrimination anchored in truthfulness. Neither cynicism nor contrarianism are part of such processes or dispositions, are bereft of such maturities.

  • MysticalSadhu Sep 21, 2010

    Science is not cynicism, true science is the proper application of doubt with the magnanimity of acknowledging that what is known, presumably, may not be accurate. As much as Newton’s laws of physics may seem to be accurate, in our personal lives, though as our minds reach into subtler realms and wake up to such thresholds of subtleties as the Theory of Relativity and Quantum, each demonstrate the limits of Newton’s laws of physics and opportunities within which those laws are not accurate. Taking a dogmatic approach to what is and is not so is NOT scientific and those entrusted with title of scientist who take such dispositions should either engage remedial common sense training or relinquish their title as scientists.

    Early in the continuity of manifesting the Universe, the individuation of subjectivity and objectivity occurs, giving rise, in part, to the individuation of unit beings. In the journey toward liberation/enlightenment, these parts regain their unity as the progressing being regains the perspective of the Universe as a singular whole experientially, not as a theory ... objectified. Imagine the Universe, en whole as a singularity, contemplating you. Now, contemplating it as your best friend, engaging it with love, embrace it as your best of bestest friend, meld into it where you forget, as with your best lover, where you end and it begins. From this perspective, experience the Universe as a whole and witness all beings and all things concurrently with this singular perspective inclusive of all.

    Siddhis, all siddhis, are achievable. The methods are simple, wholly involves ethics, and come naturally to those residing in their human nature, and part of the reason why mystical skills are readily experienced in childhood, with many stories of siddhis conveyed as being done by children.

  • MysticalSadhu Sep 21, 2010

    I remember reading about the Menninger Institute from grade school through high school via the Weekly Reader. Articles came out often in it about the Institutes's research of Yogi Rama -- who continued to affect my experience of yoga even today -- and occasionally came out in other media as well, even mainstream national broadcast news. This resonated with me immensely and was a meaningful part of what spurred me to pursue yoga as a child.

    Studies of sadhus, senseis, or sifus, what they experience and the known siddhis they employ should be designed by such yogis, intuitives who know both the what and how such things occur. With the materialistically bigoted paradigm of contemporary science consciously and subconsciously biased toward disproving, mature adults among intuitives, and researchers in rapport with them, should endeavor to design such research models to further the evolution of humanity.

    For example, as a tantrika I know what constitutes time travel and remote experiencing and influencing, both in methodology and in the physics and metaphysics of the Universe. Knowing such, I am aware of elements involved, elements necessary for the creation of the manufacture of devices that will teleport whole ships, faster than the speed of light, to very distant locations or to carry people forward or backward in time. Some theoretical physicists claim only one of either direction in time is achievable, while yogis and other shamans do so with their minds at will.

  • Sandstone Sep 18, 2010

    I'm an NDEr. I'm also a grad student trying to finish off my doctorate as a mainstream scientist. Scientists are all very individual people and they are not all stuck in a particular mindset. Unfortunately, funding does have an impact on what gets studied.

    I've had to take some time off from my studies to address some health issues. During my time away from my own research, I've had the opportunity to participate as a test subject in a neuroscience lab. It isn't the typical sort of testing one might expect. I was being tested to see if I could do a pk task while hooked up to an EEG. As it turned out, the first batch of tests last April were pretty promising and it looks like I'll be going back for another batch of tests sometime soon.

    I had no idea a year ago that I would be doing this kind of stuff. I was training to be a scientist, not a lab rat. But this is truly a great opportunity for me. It is giving me insights into many things I would never have considered before. It's still a little bit weird to not be the one wearing the lab coat, but maybe every scientist should see what it feels like to be on the other side of the tests.

    There are scientists studying things like pk! Who knew??? I sure didn't. But funding is still an issue. The senior scientist I'll be tested by funds his own work. The university gives him a salary as a professor, but he funds the research himself. If he didn't, I don't imagine he could be doing the sort of work he is doing.

  • frequencytuner Sep 16, 2010

    @ Marlene: Just for debates sake I am going argue that it not up to others to convince scientists to open their minds, but the responsibility lies within themselves alone. I will elaborate my previous post for clarity. In order for anybody to accept anything they must first be willing to accept it. I relate this back to the contrast between love and fear and order and chaos. Fear is rejection, similar to a negatively charged ion. Love is acceptance, a positive, attractive charge. Now the other pair, Order is knowing, control and structure, an attractive charge. Chaos is not knowing, having no control and without form or structure, essentially a negative charge. Now, with this in mind, consider the dogmatic - ordered (known, controlled and structured) - body of traditional science. In order to maintain the state of order, science "knows" that it must remain in a static state - unchanging. What we are presenting to the traditional body of science is - essentially - chaos (they do not know, cannot control and have no way to structure it). Now we see the point at which Science makes it's decision. The decision is based on either Love or Fear. If science chooses love, it will accept the chaos. If it chooses fear, it will reject the chaos. The primary point is this: science chooses based on the entity's present state of consciousness. Shoving ideas that they reject down their throats makes them reject it more, the same as one magnet repels another. For Science to accept the ideas it's collective consciousness must make a polarity shift. This cannot be done from outside the entity because it happens internally. When science is ready, it will shift.

  • Anonymous Icon

    duquem Sep 16, 2010

    Marlene, I would argue that what drives most scientists is curiosity and the desire to understand. I agree with you that there are many close minded and arrogant scientists out there, but no more then there are in other fields...and referring to all scientists as fear and ego driven does not help establish a dialogue or encourage them to investigate non-traditional areas of research. And yes, it is up to "others" to convince them of their findings. One does not establish scientific "truths" based on faith alone. I am however encouraged and interested in the research that IONS is doing and will be following their work.

  • Marlene Sep 16, 2010

    @ Duquem: With all my respect, your answer proofs the self limiting beliefs of many mainstream scientists. Most only accept their own methods and truths described by their colleagues. It is up to others to convince them. With a bit of luck, they believe people have some abilities depending on a number of factors like personal experience.
    Wouldn't science be more profitable for ALL when driving by and open mind and curiosity instead of fear and arrogance?

  • frequencytuner Sep 15, 2010

    There is an old saying: "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink". There is another old saying: "When the student is ready the teacher will appear".

    This is the reason - in my personal opinion - that the mainstream has not embraced the higher potential and capabilities of the human organism.

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    duquem Sep 09, 2010

    A few more thoughts...One of the best ways to bridge this disconnect between "mainstream" science and paranormal researchers for lack of a better word, is for the the paranormal researchers to search out and engage well established but retired or independently funded mainstream researchers who tend to think outside the box. (Yes, they do exist!) 1. They will be less likely to worry about the opinion of their peers or fear losing funding after endorsing research outside the "mainstream". 2. The endorsement of the findings, or monitoring of the research by a well known established "mainstream" name will give the research more "weight" by mainstream scientists. (This is true in any field of science). 3. A mainstream "cowboy" scientist who has less to lose and less to fear may also be able to contribute knowledge about other scientific/ biomedical techniques that could allow the accumulation of more "hard" data that would be more difficult to refute. In the end, once such data could be published in a journal that is respected across different disciplines other scientists may follow suit and not be as skeptical about such research.

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    duquem Sep 09, 2010

    I am a mainstream scientist. Scientists will believe that things are "true" or likely to be "true" after a question (i.e. do yogis have remarkable abilities?) has been tested rigorously, peer reviewed and published in a main stream journal. If they read in some kind of newspaper, book, or online publication that it has been shown by medical scientists that a yogi showed this amazing ability they will not automatically believe it. They need independent repeated experiments and peer review by people not involved in the experiments (maybe even by a skeptic?). If there are some resources out there where such data is published I would be very interested in learning about them.

    Even though I am a scientist I do believe people are capable of abilities beyond what the "mainstream" public believes. But this belief is based more on personal experience rather than from reading about other people's experiences. It is my hope that there will be an increase in dialogue between "mainstream" scientists and other researchers working on some of the extraordinary abilities some individuals have to advance our knowledge and acceptance of many of what I believe are innate skills that could benefit mankind if used appropriately.

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    alexjohn Sep 09, 2010

    I ain't any specialist in such things and I joined this site hoping that someone would really help me.... However this is what I feel after 19 years of life.., all that I know is that there's a special part of consciousness which is hidden from us-the subconsciousness and the abilities of this hidden region is unthinkable as no one is able to identify it and since I'm an Indian and based on the stories and myths I have heard the yogic practitioners somehow could unravel the abilities of their subconsciousness which they did by long term meditation or so.. Very well this is my STUPID thought... And me got no degrees in psychology or so..

  • MaAnna Sep 08, 2010

    I've been particularly impressed with the annual Mind and Life panel discussions the Dalai Lama hosts where lamas, neuroscientists, and psychologists dialogue to open discovery of a fuller understanding of the mind, the brain, and consciousness. The series has been ongoing for several years and audio recordings are freely available at http://www.dalailama.com/webcasts/category/3 While there, you'll also find links to several webcasts and books of successful collaboration between Buddhist practitioners and science.

    There have been so many amazing advancements over the last decade in imaging technology and neuroscience. And their findings are helping to point back to ancient practices and validating a lot of what advanced intuitives have been declaring for eons. So, I'm not so sure that mainstream physical science is continuing the practice of dismissing the findings and teachings of noetic science so much anymore.

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    Romero Sep 05, 2010

    Aren't machines of loving grace what Apple is currently building ;). I believe we're getting there. Within the last 20 years advances in telecommunications have produced many changes in society. One of them is more open discussions of noetic experiences. Science and spirituality are converging because each discipline in its own way wants to reach the truth and to do that sometimes you have to change your point of view or become stagnant. But it is easier to accomodate your reality to your point of view than to accomodate your point of view to your reality. Some people do that just because it is path of least resistance.

    I'm 39 years old and within my time have have seen paradigm shifts in important areas of my life. So I'm hopeful that I will continue to see these evolving shifts within our lifetime. With the yogi issue the problem is not one of skepticism. Skepticism is actually a healthy reaction to any new information. It helps you differentiate belief from reality, although in some areas reality is belief. The problem with the issue of yogis is the outright denial and demagogery from some in the scientific community. Some of it is very self serving. Some of it is simply contrarian. And some of it is not knowing the issue well enough. Every theory at some point was a radical idea and later became accepted as its success became apparent. Many cancer centers incorporate meditation and visualization within their therapeutic frameworks. But so far the evidence points that although these methods improve quality of life they don't improve survivability. As science and spirituality continue to converge I believe a balance will be reached and we will all benefit from the best of both worlds.

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    rigross Sep 03, 2010

    Bravo Verderrouble! May we clone you a few hundred times? Seriously, the gap between Science and Spirit seems to be narrowing. It is incumbent on all who would bring the World Wisdom Culture to speak their truths to all who will listen. Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions suggests, if memory serves, that the old guard with their vested interest in their position and prestige must leave the scene in order to make room for the paradigm shift that is to come. Let us hope we do not have to wait another generation for them to shuffle off this mortal coil in order to finally develop Richard Brautigan's "machines of loving grace" that integrate physics and poetry.

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    Romero Aug 31, 2010

    I think we need something more marketable than "Enbracing the Yogi." Nice motto though.

    I think it would be a fantastic idea to do more functional brain imaging. Maybe we will need full body imaging, as it is conceivable that consciousness phenomena of this sort ultimately may act directly on the site and bypass the brain altogether at times.

    Funding for these endeavors will be hard to find for the foreseeable future, just as it is difficult to find funding for research into psychotherapy compared to pharmacological solutions. I think quantum mechanic research might lead the way here as it becomes more evident the role that the observer has in their experiments. It is interesting that the medical sciences (which arguably could have the more immediate benefits from research in this field) tend to dismiss and even see consciousness effects as a nuisance relegating them to the placebo effect. Makes me wish the placebo effect was better studied.

  • VeronicaOGrady Aug 30, 2010

    Science is growing up out of the dark ages influenced by the dogmas that guided so many cultures of the past. Yogi's with these 'super-human' abilities were also so far removed from normal society that only now are we 'embracing the yogi' within us. Worlds, octaves/dimensions are merging and it's exciting. I've contacted many neuro-scientists and brain researchers over the years about wanting to experiment with an EEG brain cap to map out specific brain functions as i do healing sessions and speak of specific work being done while it is happening. Having both my self and the person being worked with wearing these brain caps to monitor the deeper specific changes would be a step towards bridging the unseen/unknown abilities we have to completely change physical reality using disciplined and specific consciousness techniques. Adding a fMRI would even be better!

    I've been told that's a 'future science' and I'd have to get funding to be able to do that. Understandable indeed and that funding for such projects is rare at this point. Changing brain frequencies to bring about total healings is not profitable to big companies either. The politics play into it as well but at this point, we're almost at the 100th monkey where enough scientists & natural born healers will feel and be financially supported enough to go out on such a limb into bridging this whole new paradigm.

    This feels like a coming home here. Thank you for the space to air some of these topics. I've been doing healing work since i was born and have not fit in with most mainstream philosophies because i could see so much more of 'reality' than most. My biggest dream is to have someone map out what happens in these sessions so that real, predictable, scientifically proven results can be seen. IONS is the only group i've encountered that seems open to these possiblities.

    "Embracing the Yogi" could be a new mantra for science! Imagine that? ;~)

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    Romero Aug 28, 2010

    Don't rule out science yet. Many in the scientific community are aware of these phenomena and there is interest. IONS is a testament to that. Many of the things we accept as mainstream science today were fringe ideas a few decades ago. Just look at astronomy and how long it took for concepts like the sun to be at the center of our solar to become mainstream ideasa.

    There question posed is a complex one that involves scientific dogma, religioius dogma, social trends, and political and economic issues. Scientific dogma implies an established model and anything that diverges from current thinking will be met by extreme skepticism until younger minds with fresh ideas include them in their new dogma. Human sciences have a tendencyto work like a pendulum, swinging one way to then shift in the other direction. For example the use of psychotherapy and medication use for the treatment of depression comes to mind, with a recent analysis of the STAR-D data recently concluding that the dogma of anti-depressant use should be revised as the meta-analysis revealed the medicines in the end are no better than placebo. However it will be a while before a change in the treatment guidelines of depression indorporate these new findings.

    Religion is also a factor here, as many in the various metaphysical communities are reluctant to have their own dogma under scrutiny for fear of their beliefs being invalidated. Researches are also frecuently religious and there may also be a reluctance to explore issues that would clash with their current beliefs.

    Also economics and politics play their role on the issue. Policy makers are reluctance to go outside the mainstream for fear it may erose their support base. Economic interests like pharmaceutical companies have little interest in researching technologies which they can't patent for the benefit of their shareholders.

    This is a complex issue which is an interesting area of study in itself.

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    lighttiger Aug 27, 2010

    If these Yogic experiences are accepted as true, what about the view of the universe these Yogis describe? These views include existence after death, a multi-dimensional universe (i.e., heavens and hells), and ultimately the existence of God. This moves what many consider purely unverifiable beliefs into something that can at least be experienced, if not potentially proven, by following the practices of these Yogis.

    Today's view of the universe from physics--string theory--defines an 11 dimension universe. We only seem to experience four dimensions. Does the Yogic universe lie in these extra dimensions? Certainly there is no clear path today, but it is intriguing. And many famous physicists have been drawn to Eastern philosophy and spirituality. They seem to be comfortable with both scientific rigor and philosophical investigation.

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    puresilence Aug 27, 2010

    I guess there are lot many things and happening every second. I have so far read good amount of books, but none of the books tell how to achieve these powers. I have read the Key in everybody to connect to the ultimate resource is Kundali, but that require so much hard-work that it seems it is not my cup of tea at this moment. But yes even Vivekananda said- unless you don't feel something on yourself, none is true. If you have felt it, that means that is truth. But one thing is sure, there are powers and there is no coincidence. In last 10 years technology has grown at exponential rate, and for some reason people are also skeptical that earth is not going to survive for long. Now the technology and survival of earth is somehow linked- In Past (this is my theory) people knew their powers and that was obvious to them, so they were sync with the earth. Now they are searching for powers outside of them, hence creating somewhat unhealthy environment on earth.
    What I am trying to say- we can assume our self as analogical similar to earth, when earth (being completely insignificant in this Universe as very tiny ball nowhere to be noticed keeping in mind universe size) has everything within it- all kind of magical things and astronomical energies, why we as human being are looking these powers outside of us- keeping belief on analogy. We have not witnessed that energy source within. Still a theory though as I am not sure about Kundali.

  • Verderouble Aug 26, 2010

    I am a photobiologist and have been studying the effects of light on living systems for over 30 years. For a great many scientists their science is the measure of truth. For a few, and all the great ones, truth is the measure of science. The first is like a self-blinded "man" with a stick, and if he cannot hit it then it doesn't exist. Those for whom science serves the truth have the same stick, but they can see where to usefully put it. The element that it is not on the Periodic Table is Creativity. This is a non-predictable element constituent of a that "will" which distinguishes the life process from the death process, the organism from the mechanism. It is operative now, in an ever emergent world. "Matter" means Mother, and so She is. The resistance of the blind men is based on a necessary refusal of the fact that our "scientific objectivity" is an intellectual device and discipline of separation from the object of attention, and this attention is effective, it acts, it does something. To accept this fact, to embrace and celebrate its implications is not a simple reform, it really is a revolution.

  • jimdun9241 Aug 25, 2010

    Gloria, I ordered your book yesterday after our exchange of emails about zero point energy. I read summaries of your book by using google and going to amazon. What you have written about is something that is of great interest to me. I have read other books that discuss these issues, like "Punk Science", and "Journey to Awareness and Beyond", which was written by my friend, Dr. Liana Mattulich. I am eagerly awaiting the chance to read your book.

    Jim

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    asinha1993 Aug 24, 2010

    I am from a traditional hindu background and since childhood I have heard many stories about the amazing powers of many yogies told to us by our grandparents....but I never really believed them....but after reading about noetic science I have started to believe that some of the stories may be in fact true....i will give an example about 2 siddha yogies..Shri RamKrishna (swami Vivekananda's Guru) and Shri Bamakhapa or Bamdev .....Once Bamakhapa was sitting with his disciples in his ashram when he suddenly closed his eyes for some moment and went into a meditative stage.....After some time when he opened his eyes. One of his companion asked what was the matter......Bamdev replied"You people keep an eye on my body.I am going some where."and with that he again closed his eyes and once again went into a deep meditative stage........After several hours he once again opened his eyes...His companions asked"Baba (father) where did u go?" Bamdev replied"Today is a very sad bay.One of the greatest siddha purush (siddha person) ,Shri RamKrishna ,died today.I had gone to dakshineshwar to bid him farewell."
    Later it was found that ramkrishna had died at the the exact moment and in the exact way Bamdev had described to his disciples.
    NOTE:- Dakshineshwar Temple is situated near Calcutta and bamdev's ashram is situated in Tarapith which is approx. 225km from Calcutta.
    It is said that Bamdev, being a siddha yogi,could take out his soul from his body at his will.It is the same thing that is mentioned in the LOST SYMBOL as the out of body experience.i don't know if it is true but then the experiment that docron describes seems impossible as well but it is seen....

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi Aug 23, 2010

    Gloria,
    Congratulations on publishing your book. That is something that I have failed to accomplish.

    I haven’t read your book, but am motivated to respond to your comments which may resonate with your book.

    You state that the reason science doesn't take spiritual phenomena seriously is because it's left out of the textbooks –

    My comment prior to yours should have considered that. The reason that spiritual phenomena is left out of textbooks is because textbooks reflect the reality paradigm of the dominant culture. The dominant reality paradigm of our culture is supported by the paradigm that governs traditional science [Scientific Materialism].

    Scientific materialism has dominated traditional science for over three hundred years. Although infrequently published, scientific materialism considers that beliefs in spirituality reflect a mental deficiency. That claim seems to be diminishing in frequency, as the science of IONS is beginning to penetrate the consensus reality.

    Your comment responsive to scientists treating their discipline [paradigm] as religion is right on. It resonates with my previous post which reflects that devotees of scientific materialism [traditional scientists] express the dogmatism of religious fundamentalism, not the open mindedness required of true science. [Not my exact words, but the paraphrasing seems to convey more sentiment.]

    If my comments seem overly aggressive, I hope you recognize that they are not directed at you.

    I have found comfort in occasionally abandoning the compassion and serenity inherent to my spiritual nature and to express aggression [only when there is opportunity to confront the irrational dogmatism of scientific materialism.]

    Best wishes, nm

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    GloriaPrema Aug 23, 2010

    The reason science doesn't take spiritual phenomena seriously is because it's left out of the textbooks - many scientists don't look outside their discipline and for some, regrettably, it becomes their religion. But also because it's difficult to reproduce in the lab often, depending on the phenomena involved. Things such as intention (Random Event Generators at Princeton) and occasionally healing modalities can be measured. There have been several interesting prayer studies showing remarkable results. These were double-blind and conducted at a distance (which is intention as well as non-locality).

    History shows us that attitudes tend to change very slowly. When a new finding is introduced, almost always it is rejected, eventually considered, then ends up being the norm. This is because people don't want to have to change their way of thinking; it's too much effort, and for some, they're embarassed to realise they didn't know so it protects the ego to dig the heels in and shout vociferously against the new.
    That is why it takes time .... even to present overwhelming evidence isn't enough for many.... they simply won't look. Scientists do this as much as anyone else.

    I have addressed all these issues in my new book 'It's all Light" - The Morphic Resonance of Light, A Unified Theory. It's unified in that it unites the major forces in physics, quantum theory and relativity, spiritual phenomena and human values and I give evidence for everything I've argued in the theory. This is to address the yawning gap between simply talking about spiritual phenomena and providing the actual physics for it, so that eventually mainstream science may begin to look. By the way, the book is accessible to the lay person. I believe a unified theory should not only include spirituality and human values but also be understandable and accessible to everyone. Thanks for reading this far . Gloria

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi Aug 19, 2010

    Mainstream science is dominated by Scientific Materialism which dictates that that the proper study of science is physical reality and the nature of consciousness is not a valid subject for scientific inquiry.

    That is the “why” mainstream science refuses to acknowledge consciousness related phenomenon.

    In his scholarly work, “The Taboo of Subjectivity”, B. Alan Wallace establishes that consciousness is the very nature of human experience and to exclude it from scientific inquiry provides an impoverished understanding of reality.

    Wallace’s work also establishes that Scientific Materialism is not science, it is an ideology.

    [Science is supported by assumptions that can be scientifically tested; in contrast, ideologies are supported solely by assumptions.]

    The “how” to overcome mainstream science ignoring consciousness phenomena is by exposing at every opportunity its domination by an ideology.

    Also, to be dominated by an ideology is to have faith that the ideology and its assumptions are infallible. This is not science; it is religious dogmatism.

  • jimdun9241 Aug 15, 2010

    I am definitely not mainstream - I do use science (quantum physics) in my thinking.
    I have studied metaphysics for 50 years. I am a healer and a caregiver to seniors.

    Jim

  • TrueInsights Aug 14, 2010

    Hmm, interesting and predictable comments. What caused you to ask the question Jim? Mainstream science is built on skepticism, that's why it's called science and mainstream.

  • jimdun9241 Aug 14, 2010

    I am working with a well-known brain researcher who has taught me to raise the temperature of my hands 20 degrees during meditation, and to produce gamma brain waves, which is what gurus produce.

    I am also working with a company whose products have produced "miracles" for hundreds of people. Their products use zero point energy.

    Amega will be a billion dollar company in a year, just from people helping people and sharing the wealth. They have created a foundation to heal the world. Their products give you what everybody wants - relief from pain, promote healing, plenty of energy and a good nites sleep, etc. That is why Amega people say, I love my life! The products are created by a scientific discovery called Zero Point Energy.

    Here is a link to a short video about Zero Point Energy.

    http://www.wandtheworld.com/sizzle/?go=kryon11

    Here is a link to a video describing Zero Point Energy, and the products.

    http://www.wandtheworld.com/amegacall/?go=kryon11

    Here is a link to a video of a demonstration of the products.

    http://www.amnart.net/emailt.html

    Jim

  • Dean Radin, PhD Aug 13, 2010

    Here are two good places to start:

    Braud, W. (2008). Patanjali Yoga and siddhis: Their relevance to parapsychological theory and research. In K. R. Rao, A. C. Paranjpe, & A. K. Dalal (Eds.), Handbook of Indian psychology (pp. 217-243). New Delhi, India: Cambridge University Press (India)/Foundation Books.

    You can download this paper here: http://www.inclusivepsychology.com/uploads/PatanjaliYogaAndSiddhis.pdf

    Braud, W. (2010). Patanjali Yoga Sutras and parapsychological research: Exploring matches and mismatches. In K. R. Rao (Ed.), Yoga and parapsychology: Empirical research and theoretical studies (pp. 241-260). Delhi, India: Motilal Barnarsidass.

    This can be downloaded here: http://www.inclusivepsychology.com/uploads/Braud_Yoga_Psi_Matches_Mismatches2010.pdf

    This book is also an excellent resource:

    K. R. Rao (Ed.), Yoga and parapsychology. Delhi, India: Motilal Barnarsidass.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Ayseby Aug 13, 2010

    To my humble opinion the answer is simple and called "Taboo", as Dean Radin puts it. With the fear of being marginalized most of the main stream scientists prefer to stay within known territory, under generally accepted norms. But, what I wonder most is the resources that explore these abilities of the yogis. Can anyone point some direction so that I can learn some details? Thank you.

  • Marlene Aug 13, 2010

    Modern science isn't always an improvement. If they can't explain it, it doesn't exist. If they didn't test it, it is not valid. Not to mention the limiting beliefs. Some scientists attach more value to technology than to human abilities and nature. As if a gadget is more thrilling and valid than what we are and have.

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    docron Aug 12, 2010

    As an undergraduate at Missouri Western State University, the Psychology Club had a field trip to the Menninger Clinic to learn about their research into biofeedback and it's possibilities. The director related the ancedotal story of a Yogi they were studying who was able to stay in their air-tight chamber with NO exchange of CO2 for O2! Even after several hours, Dr. Tart related that this remained constant, and at the end of the experiment, the make up of the air in the chamber was the same as it was when he started. The same kind of experiment was done with a Yogi in a small glass box! Again, there was no change in the chemical makeup of the air!
    Dr Ron Hestand

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