Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Saturday Night Science: Phenomena

 

“Phenomena” by Annie JacobsenAt the end of World War II, it was clear that science and technology would be central to competition among nations in the postwar era. The development of nuclear weapons, German deployment of the first operational ballistic missile, and the introduction of jet propelled aircraft pointed the way to a technology-driven arms race, and both the U.S. and the Soviet Union scrambled to lay hands on the secret super-weapon programs of the defeated Nazi regime. On the U.S. side, the Alsos Mission not only sought information on German nuclear and missile programs, but also came across even more bizarre projects, such as those undertaken by Berlin’s Ahnenerbe Institute, founded in 1935 by SS leader Heinrich Himmler. Investigating the institute’s headquarters in a Berlin suburb, Samuel Goudsmit, chief scientist of Alsos, found what he described as “Remnants of weird Teutonic symbols and rites … a corner with a pit of ashes in which I found the skull of an infant.” What was going on? Had the Nazis attempted to weaponise black magic? And, to the ever-practical military mind, did it work?

In the years after the war, the intelligence community and military services in both the U.S. and Soviet Union would become involved in the realm of the paranormal, funding research and operational programs based upon purported psychic powers for which mainstream science had no explanation. Both superpowers were not only seeking super powers for their spies and soldiers, but also looking over their shoulders afraid the other would steal a jump on them in exploiting these supposed powers of mind. “We can’t risk a ‘woo-woo gap’ with the adversary!”

Set aside for a moment (as did most of the agencies funding this research) the question of just how these mental powers were supposed to work. If they did, in fact, exist and if they could be harnessed and reliably employed, they would confer a tremendous strategic advantage on their possessor. Consider: psychic spies could project their consciousness out of body and penetrate the most secure military installations; telepaths could read the minds of diplomats during negotiations or perhaps even plant thoughts and influence their judgement; telekinesis might be able to disrupt the guidance systems of intercontinental missiles or space launchers; and psychic assassins could undetectably kill by stopping the hearts of their victims remotely by projecting malign mental energy in their direction.

All of this may seem absurd on its face, but work on all of these phenomena and more was funded, between 1952 and 1995, by agencies of the U.S. government including the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, the CIA, NSA, DIA, and ARPA/DARPA, expending tens of millions of dollars. Between 1978 and 1995 the Defense Department maintained an operational psychic espionage program under various names, using “remote viewing” to provide information on intelligence targets for clients including the Secret Service, Customs Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Coast Guard.

What is remote viewing? Experiments in parapsychology laboratories usually employ a protocol called “outbounder-beacon”, where a researcher travels to a location selected randomly from a set of targets and observes the locale while a subject in the laboratory, usually isolated from sensory input which might provide clues, attempts to describe, either in words or by a drawing, what the outbounder is observing. At the conclusion of the experiment, the subject’s description is compared with pictures of the targets by an independent judge (unaware of which was the outbounder’s destination), who selects the one which is the closest match to the subject’s description. If each experiment picked the outbounder’s destination from a set of five targets, you’d expect from chance alone that in an ensemble of experiments the remote viewer’s perception would match the actual target around 20% of the time. Experiments conducted in the 1970s at the Stanford Research Institute (and subsequently the target of intense criticism by skeptics) claimed in excess of 65% accuracy by talented remote viewers.

While outbounder-beacon experiments were used to train and test candidate remote viewers, operational military remote viewing as conducted by the Stargate Project (and under assorted other code names over the years), was quite different. Usually the procedure involved “coordinate remote viewing”. The viewer would simply be handed a slip of paper containing the latitude and longitude of the target and then, relaxing and clearing his or her mind, would attempt to describe what was there. In other sessions, the viewer might be handed a sealed envelope containing a satellite reconnaissance photograph. The results were sometimes stunning. In 1979, a KH-9 spy satellite photographed a huge building which had been constructed at Severodvinsk Naval Base in the Soviet arctic. Analysts thought the Soviets might be building their first aircraft carrier inside the secret facility. Joe McMoneagle, an Army warrant office and Vietnam veteran who was assigned to the Stargate Project as its first remote viewer, was given the target in the form of an envelope with the satellite photo sealed inside. Concentrating on the target, he noted “There’s some kind of a ship. Some kind of a vessel. I’m getting a very, very strong impression of props [propellers]”. Then, “I’m seeing fins…. They look like shark fins.” He continued, “I’m seeing what looks like part of a submarine in this building.” The entire transcript was forty-seven pages long.

McMoneagle’s report was passed on to the National Security Council, which dismissed it because it didn’t make any sense for the Soviets to build a huge submarine in a building located one hundred metres from the water. McMoneagle had described a canal between the building and the shore, but the satellite imagery showed no such structure. Then, four months later, in January 1980, another KH-9 pass showed a large submarine at a dock at Severodvinsk, along with a canal between the mystery building and the sea, which had been constructed in the interim. This was the prototype of the new Typhoon class ballistic missile submarine, which was a complete surprise to Western analysts, but not Joe McMoneagle. This is what was referred to as an “eight martini result”. When McMoneagle retired in 1984, he was awarded the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious service in the field of human intelligence.

A decade later the U.S. Customs Service approached the remote viewing unit for assistance in tracking down a rogue agent accused of taking bribes from cocaine smugglers in Florida. He had been on the run for two years, and appeared on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. He was believed to be in Florida or somewhere in the Caribbean. Self-taught remote viewer Angela Dellafiora concentrated on the case and immediately said, “He’s in Lowell, Wyoming.” Wyoming? There was no reason for him to be in such a place. Further, there was no town named Lowell in the state. Agents looked through an atlas and found there was, however, a Lovell, Wyoming. Dellafiora said, “Well, that’s probably it.” Several weeks later, she was asked to work the case again. Her notes include, “If you don’t get him now you’ll lose him. He’s moving from Lowell.” She added that he was “at or near a campground that had a large boulder at its entrance”, and that she “sensed an old Indian burial ground is located nearby.”. After being spotted by a park ranger, the fugitive was apprehended at a campground next to an Indian burial ground, about fifty miles from Lovell, Wyoming, where he had been a few weeks before. Martinis all around.

A total of 417 operational sessions were run in 1989 and 1990 for the counter-narcotics mission; 52% were judged as producing results of intelligence value while 47% were of no value. Still, what was produced was considered of sufficient value that the customers kept coming back.

Most of this work and its products were classified, in part to protect the program from ridicule by journalists and politicians. Those running the projects were afraid of being accused of dabbling in the occult, so they endorsed an Army doctrine that remote viewing, like any other military occupational specialty, was a normal human facility which could be taught to anybody with a suitable training process, and a curriculum was developed to introduce new people to the program. This was despite abundant evidence that the ability to remote view, if it exists at all, is a rare trait some people acquire at birth, and cannot be taught to randomly selected individuals any more than they can be trained to become musical composers or chess grand masters.

Under a similar shroud of secrecy, paranormal research for military applications appears to have been pursued in the Soviet Union and China. From time to time information would leak out into the open literature, such as the Soviet experiments with Ninel Kulagina. In China, H. S. Tsien (Qian Xuesen), a co-founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the United States who, after being stripped of his security clearance and moving to mainland China in 1955, led the Chinese nuclear weapons and missile programs, became a vocal and powerful advocate of research into the paranormal which, in accordance with Chinese Communist doctrine, was called “Extraordinary Human Body Functioning” (EHBF), and linked to the concept of qi, an energy field which is one of the foundations of traditional Chinese medicine and martial arts. It is likely this work continues today in China.

The U.S. remote viewing program came to an end in June 1995, when the CIA ordered the Defense Intelligence Agency to shut down the Stargate project. Many documents relating to the project have since been declassified but, oddly for a program which many claimed produced no useful results, others remain secret to this day. The paranormal continues to appeal to some in the military. In 2014, the Office of Naval Research launched a four year project funded with US$ 3.85 million to investigate premonitions, intuition, and hunches—what the press release called “Spidey sense”. In the 1950s, during a conversation between physicist Wolfgang Pauli and psychiatrist Carl Jung about psychic phenomena, Jung remarked, “As is only to be expected, every conceivable kind of attempt has been made to explain away these results, which seem to border on the miraculous and frankly impossible. But all such attempts come to grief on the facts, and the facts refuse so far to be argued out of existence.” A quarter century later in 1975, a CIA report concluded “A large body of reliable experimental evidence points to the inescapable conclusion that extrasensory perception does exist as a real phenomenon.”

To those who have had psychic experiences, there is no doubt of the reality of the phenomena. But research into them or, even more shockingly, attempts to apply them to practical ends, runs squarely into a paradigm of modern science which puts theory ahead of observation and experiment. A 1986 report by the U.S. Army said that its research had “succeeded in documenting general anomalies worthy of scientific interest,“ but that “in the absence of a confirmed paranormal theory…paranormality could be rejected a priori.” When the remote viewing program was cancelled in 1995, a review of its work stated that “a statistically significant effect has been observed in the laboratory…[but] the laboratory studies do not provide evidence regarding the sources or origins of the phenomenon.” In other words, experimental results can be discarded if there isn’t a theory upon which to hang them, and there is no general theory of paranormal phenomena. Heck, they could have asked me.

One wonders where many currently mature fields of science would be today had this standard been applied during their formative phases: rejecting experimental results due to lack of a theory to explain them. High-temperature superconductivity was discovered in 1986 and won the Nobel Prize in 1987, and still today there is no theory that explains how it works. Perhaps it is only because it is so easily demonstrated with a desktop experiment that it, too, has not been relegated to the realm of “fringe science”.

This book provides a comprehensive history of the postwar involvement of the military and intelligence communities with the paranormal, focusing on the United States. The author takes a neutral stance: both believers and skeptics are given their say. One notes a consistent tension between scientists who reject the phenomena because “it can’t possibly work” and intelligence officers who couldn’t care less about how it works as long as it is providing them useful results.

The author has conducted interviews with many of the principals still alive, and documented the programs with original sources, many obtained by her under the Freedom of Information Act. Extensive end notes and source citations are included. I wish I could be more confident in the accuracy of the text, however. Chapter 7 relates astronaut Edgar Mitchell’s Apollo 14 mission to the Moon, during which he conducted, on his own initiative, some unauthorised ESP experiments. But most of the chapter is about the mission itself, and it is riddled with errors, all of which could be corrected with no more research than consulting Wikipedia pages about the mission and the Apollo program. When you read something you know about and discover much of it is wrong, you have to guard against what Michael Crichton called the Gell-Mann amnesia effect: turning the page and assuming what you read there, about which you have no personal knowledge, is to be trusted. When dealing with spooky topics and programs conducted in secret, one should be doubly cautious. The copy editing is only of fair quality, and the Kindle edition has no index (the print edition does include an index).

Napoléon Bonaparte said, “There are but two powers in the world, the sword and the mind. In the long run, the sword is always beaten by the mind.” The decades of secret paranormal research were an attempt to apply this statement literally, and provide a fascinating look inside a secret world where nothing was dismissed as absurd if it might provide an edge over the adversary. Almost nobody knew about this work at the time. One wonders what is going on today.

Jacobsen, Annie. Phenomena. New York: Little, Brown, 2017. ISBN 978-0-316-34936-9.

This is a one hour interview with the author about the topics discussed in the book. It deserves a better interviewer.

Here is a talk by Russell Targ, who worked for decades with the government psychic program, on his experiences.

The following typically grainy Soviet footage is of Ninel Kulagina performing psychokinesis experiments. Information like this provided evidence for Soviet experimentation in parapsychology.

This is an official film by the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) about experiments with Uri Geller in 1972. Yes, the person who posted this to YouTube managed to misspell “with”.

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  1. Jules PA Member

    Very. Very. Cool.

    • #1
    • May 6, 2017, at 12:00 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    John Walker:When the remote viewing program was cancelled in 1995, a review of its work stated that “a statistically significant effect has been observed in the laboratory…[but] the laboratory studies do not provide evidence regarding the sources or origins of the phenomenon.” In other words, experimental results can be discarded if there isn’t a theory upon which to hang them, and there is no general theory of paranormal phenomena. Heck, they could have asked me.

    One wonders where many currently mature fields of science would be today had this standard been applied during their formative phases: rejecting experimental results due to lack of a theory to explain them.

    Ignaz Semmelweis.

    Sometimes practice outstrips theory. Don’t demonize practice when that happens. If it’s stupid but it works, it is not stupid.

    • #2
    • May 6, 2017, at 12:09 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  3. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    Childhood’s End.

    • #3
    • May 6, 2017, at 12:24 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  4. Arahant Member

    It never goes away.

    • #4
    • May 6, 2017, at 12:46 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  5. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I met Targ at a laser conference years ago, probably CLEO, while he was still at Lockheed. A few of us had dinner together one evening. He seemed normal, except for his wacky ideas about remote viewing.

    Targ reminds me a little of another physicist, John Taylor (not to be confused with several other physicists of the same name). This Taylor was duped by Uri Geller into believing that Geller had paranormal powers. If you want to investigate paranormal powers, hire a magician. Those guys know how tricks are done.

    • #5
    • May 6, 2017, at 1:37 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  6. Fritz Member

    Much less cool were those “experiments’ where the government (CIA) administered LSD to unsuspecting subjects, to see what the effects might be. Some never recovered.

    • #6
    • May 6, 2017, at 3:39 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. John Walker Contributor
    John Walker

    Fritz (View Comment):
    Much less cool were those “experiments’ where the government (CIA) administered LSD to unsuspecting subjects, to see what the effects might be. Some never recovered.

    The MKUltra program, which explored psychedelics and other substances toward the end of finding a “truth serum” or “mind control agent” was part and parcel of the focus on the human mind which occupied the CIA after World War II. Andrija Puharich, who later brought Uri Geller to the U.S., was involved in the immediate postwar years in the search for the “magic mushroom” in Mexico and tests, some conducted without the consent or knowledge of subjects, as to whether ingestion could improve psychic functioning. This is discussed in the book, although it is not the main focus of the text.

    • #7
    • May 6, 2017, at 3:56 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. Richard Easton Member

    Her previous book about DARPA had three pages dealing with GPS. She managed to get almost everything wrong about it. I am skeptical about her scholarship.

    • #8
    • May 6, 2017, at 4:12 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  9. Henry Racette Contributor

    I hold the same view on this as I do about UFOs, global warming, Bigfoot, ancient astronauts, miracles, etc.: extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.

    I’m open-minded and amenable to persuasion, but I’ll have to see some robust and reproducible evidence.

    I haven’t yet.

    • #9
    • May 6, 2017, at 4:22 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Richard Easton (View Comment):
    Her previous book about DARPA had three pages dealing with GPS. She managed to get almost everything wrong about it. I am skeptical about her scholarship.

    Non-techies writing tech is fraught with peril.

    • #10
    • May 6, 2017, at 4:24 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. John Walker Contributor
    John Walker

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I hold the same view on this as I do about UFOs, global warming, Bigfoot, ancient astronauts, miracles, etc.: extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.

    I’m open-minded and amenable to persuasion, but I’ll have to see some robust and reproducible evidence.

    I haven’t yet.

    Indeed. One important take-away from this book is that the U.S. government expended taxpayer funds on this work for almost half a century, including 23 years in which an operational program provided “intelligence” to government clients. Almost all of this work was classified and funded by “black program” budgets opaque to scrutiny by Congress and those who paid for them.

    Makes you wonder about the merit of other “science” funded by the government, doesn’t it? And also the extent one should rely on the coercive state resorting to “science” to justify its policies, almost all of which seem to curiously have the same result of increasing its own power at expense of its subjects.

    And wouldn’t you like to audit what the current “black program” budget is funding?

    • #11
    • May 6, 2017, at 4:41 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  12. Henry Racette Contributor

    John Walker (View Comment):
    Makes you wonder about the merit of other “science” funded by the government, doesn’t it?

    If that’s a passing swipe at climate science, I’m all over that. Yes.

    I imagine “pure” science has always had to deal with the conflicting incentives of partisan patrons — in the same sense that movie directors have always had to put up with the investor’s mistress getting some modest part in the production.

    When almost all of the work in a field is funded by the government — as in climate science and this paranormal nonsense (did I say that out loud?) — then I think the results tend to be predictable.

    • #12
    • May 6, 2017, at 4:48 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. Judge Mental, Secret Chimp Member

    What about the program from The Men Who Stare at Goats? Was that part of one of the ones mentioned, or was it a parallel Army program?

    • #13
    • May 6, 2017, at 4:56 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. John Walker Contributor
    John Walker

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    When almost all of the work in a field is funded by the government — as in climate science and this paranormal nonsense (did I say that out loud?) — then I think the results tend to be predictable.

    In this regard, I like to quote Eisenhower’s farewell address. Everybody remembers the part about the “military-industrial complex”, but few recall the next few paragraphs.

    Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

    In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

    Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

    The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

    Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

    Before becoming president, Eisenhower was (briefly) a university president. He saw first-hand the effects of federal funding distorting the priorities of academic research and vice versa.

    • #14
    • May 6, 2017, at 5:02 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  15. John Walker Contributor
    John Walker

    Judge Mental (View Comment):
    What about the program from The Men Who Stare at Goats? Was that part of one of the ones mentioned, or was it a parallel Army program?

    It was part of the same program which supported the remote viewing project. The funding agencies changed over the years, but the structure of the program remained largely intact. The book is a straight nonfiction account (albeit ironic and funny) of this “research”, while the movie embroiders upon the facts in the interest (successful) of entertainment.

    • #15
    • May 6, 2017, at 5:09 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. cirby Member

    One good thing that came out of the Ahnenerbe programs was the whole Hellboy universe. Nazis and black magic as entertainment? Who knew?

    • #16
    • May 6, 2017, at 6:01 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    cirby (View Comment):
    One good thing that came out of the Ahnenerbe programs was the whole Hellboy universe. Nazis and black magic as entertainment? Who knew?

    The other good thing was that the resources they expended rubbing runes weren’t available to get the Me 262 into full-scale production.

    • #17
    • May 6, 2017, at 6:24 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. PHCheese Member

    I have had many paranormal events and remote viewings all of which have been associated with and accompanied by large amounts of alcohol.

    • #18
    • May 6, 2017, at 6:44 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  19. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I listened to as much of Targ’s pseudo-TED talk as I could tolerate. His claim about the connections of paranormal phenomena with quantum mechanics are specious. He’s trying to associate the EPR/Bell’s Theorem experiments of the 1970s and 80s with Buddhism: total rubbish.

    Also, Targ’s understanding of scientific epistemology is wrong. You don’t “prove” things in physical science by accumulating statistical data. That’s more the social “science” epistemological model. And we all know how successful that’s been.

    • #19
    • May 6, 2017, at 7:47 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  20. Ontheleftcoast Member

    You know how you see a book in a bookstore, it looks interesting but you don’t buy it and then later wish you had but never see it again? This is about one of those. It was a nicely done coffee table size book on dowsing. It had photos of U.S. Marines in Viet Nam dowsing for VC tunnels and mines – both from maps and on the ground, and another one of a man in a coat and tie under a starched white lab coat with a group of men similarly dressed or in expensive suits. This was a dowser and a group of top brass at what was then the Sandoz pharmaceutical company. He was locating a suitable water source for a new manufacturing plant.

    So I had heard of map dowsing when I heard the following story from a friend, gone now. She had kept and trained horses on a small property in the East Bay. She decided that she needed a new well. She had been working for a while with a man who did both map and onsite dowsing. In this case, he worked from a map of the property. He and his map were in Oregon, the property was in California.

    He told her to drill in a certain spot, and that she would hit water at a specified depth but that it wouldn’t be enough for her needs. She was to drill something like another 75 feet or so past the first water the drill hit, and that would get her what she needed. Both predictions panned out. I saw the well. It delivered the amount of water the dowser had said it would, coming from the depth he said the water would be.

    • #20
    • May 6, 2017, at 9:08 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  21. Ontheleftcoast Member

    cirby (View Comment):
    One good thing that came out of the Ahnenerbe programs was the whole Hellboy universe. Nazis and black magic as entertainment? Who knew?

    Charles Stross stirred the Ahnenerbe SS together with the Cthulhu mythos and a few other things in the Laundry Files series.

    • #21
    • May 6, 2017, at 9:10 PM PDT
    • Like
  22. Arahant Member

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I hold the same view on this as I do about UFOs, global warming, Bigfoot, ancient astronauts, miracles, etc.: extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.

    I’m open-minded and amenable to persuasion, but I’ll have to see some robust and reproducible evidence.

    I haven’t yet.

    Heh, my father once challenged the universe in that way. He got an answer to his challenge, too.

    • #22
    • May 7, 2017, at 1:17 AM PDT
    • Like
  23. John Walker Contributor
    John Walker

    drlorentz (View Comment):
    Also, Targ’s understanding of scientific epistemology is wrong. You don’t “prove” things in physical science by accumulating statistical data. That’s more the social “science” epistemological model. And we all know how successful that’s been.

    And yet one of the “hardest” of the hard sciences—particle physics—is largely based upon statistical arguments. If you read the discovery paper for the top quark or the book-length treatment of the discovery, it’s evident that what’s going on is nothing like identifying the positron as an oddly curved track in a cloud chamber you could point at say, “there it is”.

    Instead, the discovery process involves modeling the background from a multitude of decay processes, taking into account the behaviour of the detectors, by running Monte Carlo simulations of known events. Then you search for an excess of events over the expected background, producing a “bump” in the energy spectrum of decay products. If the bump reaches a statistical significance of five standard deviations and its energy and properties of the event are consistent with those expected, this is considered grounds for claiming a discovery. (I have, of course, vastly over-simplified the process, ignoring the complex process of tagging events as candidates; read the paper.)

    You can’t even point to a given event and say, “That’s a top quark (or Higgs boson).” All you can say is that among an ensemble of events, some fraction of them must have been produced by the new particle, while others were due to background processes not involving it. Two- and three- sigma results appear all the time and routinely disappear as more data are collected, proving to be random fluctuations: in 2015 there was a buzz when the LHC appeared to have produced a bump between three and four standard deviations around 750 GeV but it went away when more data were taken in 2016.

    I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with statistical methods per se. You just have to use them carefully and be aware that knowledge of one domain, for example particle physics, does not mean you’re an expert in statistics, which can be very subtle.

    For a discussion of the use of statistics in parapsychology research, I recommend Dean Radin’s The Conscious Universe and Entangled Minds, the latter the subject of Saturday Night Science for 2013-09-07.

    • #23
    • May 7, 2017, at 4:09 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  24. John Walker Contributor
    John Walker

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):
    So I had heard of map dowsing when I heard the following story from a friend, gone now.

    In 1986, the London Financial Times (“A cost-effective Account of the Spoons”, January 18, 1986) reported that Uri Geller was charging £1 million for map dowsing, and that he had performed at least eleven known dowsing projects for petroleum and mining company clients including Petróleros Mexicanos (Pemex), Rio Tinto-Zinc of the UK, and Zanex Ltd. in Australia.

    • #24
    • May 7, 2017, at 4:21 AM PDT
    • Like
  25. Arahant Member

    John Walker (View Comment):

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):
    So I had heard of map dowsing when I heard the following story from a friend, gone now.

    In 1986, the London Financial Times (“A cost-effective Account of the Spoons”, January 18, 1986) reported that Uri Geller was charging £1 million for map dowsing, and that he had performed at least eleven known dowsing projects for petroleum and mining company clients including Petróleros Mexicanos (Pemex), Rio Tinto-Zinc of the UK, and Zanex Ltd. in Australia.

    For £1 million they had better have panned out.

    • #25
    • May 7, 2017, at 4:57 AM PDT
    • Like
  26. Quake Voter Inactive

    Arahant (View Comment):

    It never goes away.

    No, it doesn’t. But neither does our belief in free will, moral agency, love, altruism, the innocence of children, prayer, intuition, human equality and soul. When certain things go away — or are culturally and politically disappeared — others follow.

    • #26
    • May 7, 2017, at 5:02 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  27. Jack Sarfatti Inactive

    My PQM not only explains this kind of “paranormal phenomena,” but also ordinary consciousness in terms of mainstream theoretical physics.

    https://ricochet.com/archives/saturday-night-science-flying-saucers-explained/

    https://vimeo.com/171013596

    https://cornell.academia.edu/JackSarfatti

    see my endnotes to starting on p. 331 to p. 336

    https://www.academia.edu/32054204/Updated_JackSarfatti_Physics_Essays_1991_Faster-Than-Light_Communication_-_complete_version_cited_by_David_Kaiser_in_How_the_Hippies_Saved_Physics from 1990

    My point is that there is now a Popper falsifiable theory based on essentially conventional physics that explains what Annie has reported and that will lead to a valuable new post-quantum information technology that can hack present day quantum cryptographic networks mistakenly thought to be secure. In addition, the idea of uploading our actual conscious experiences to The Cloud in a kind of virtual personal immortality is now, in principle, doable.

    • #27
    • May 7, 2017, at 5:03 AM PDT
    • Like
  28. Quake Voter Inactive

    John Walker: “succeeded in documenting general anomalies worthy of scientific interest,“ but that “in the absence of a confirmed paranormal theory…paranormality could be rejected a priori.”

    In almost all of social science, can’t we replace “paranormal” with “conservative”? Especially as regards traditional conservatism rather than market conservatism.

    Sure, there’s some push back (though mostly there’s accommodation) when leftist theory threatens economic interests. But on social questions, conservatives have no confirmed theory of the family, sexual modesty, traditional cultural forms, like-group attachment (to use a defanged phrase), emotional restraint and settled habits which have somehow accommodated human anomalies for centuries.

    • #28
    • May 7, 2017, at 6:06 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. Arahant Member

    Quake Voter (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    It never goes away.

    No, it doesn’t. But neither does our belief in free will, moral agency, love, altruism, the innocence of children, prayer, intuition, human equality and soul. When certain things go away — or are culturally and politically disappeared — others follow.

    Interesting reaction, not what I was talking about however.

    • #29
    • May 7, 2017, at 6:07 AM PDT
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  30. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member

    John Walker (View Comment):
    Then you search for an excess of events over the expected background, producing a “bump” in the energy spectrum of decay products. If the bump reaches a statistical significance of five standard deviations and its energy and properties of the event are consistent with those expected, this is considered grounds for claiming a discovery.

    Psibert desired a successful result with all his heart and soul, and he applied his “will” (whatever that is, if it even exists) to that end. Now, with every quantum event which led to the random number generator emitting a one or zero, the universe split into two: one in which the bit was zero, the other in which it was one, with copies of Psibert, brow furrowed and willing away, in both parallel threads. But our hypothesis of multiverse navigation says that Psibert can exert a very small influence on which of these paths his perception of a single universe will follow. Well, since he wants to succeed, his will is to follow threads into futures in which the random number generator emitted one bits as opposed to zero bits. And since multiverse navigation is a weak, unreliable process, most of the times Psibert’s will won’t have any effect on his trajectory into the future, but occasionally it will, with the result that after the experiment ends and the score is totted up, there will be a slight excess in the number of one bits in the output from the generator.

    CS Peirce said that if you flip a coin, initially fair, and modify the resulting outcome so that every head or tail becomes (very)slightly more likely on the next flip you will the outcome will be bimodal. That is, you will wind up with coins that will result in either results in heads or tails with a high degree of likelihood.

    • #30
    • May 7, 2017, at 6:21 AM PDT
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