Archive for Skeptico

Persinger Claims to Demonstrate Telepathy in Lab

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on December 18, 2009 by jackpot12

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God Helmet

Michael Persinger is most well known for developing an electromagnetic helmet (above modeled by Skeptic Michael Shermer) which stimulates the temporal lobe and apparently increases mystical feelings and sensations in *some* people. Persinger is a self proclaimed materialist who believes the brain generates all human experience and all human experience depends on the brain. Yet Persinger believes that he has demonstrated a telepathic macro-psi phenomenon (suspected by some to be “quantum entanglement”) which demonstrates connections between two separated people surrounded by magnetic fields. A light is shined in one subject’s eyes and the other subject’s brain responds in sync in a statistically significant way.

I think it is fascinating that when given a postulated mechanism such as entanglement, it opens the door to materialists to “see” psi in their studies without having to fold to dualism. In my own personal esp experiment using my iphone app I am now at 8400 trials with a p value of .01 which is significant and pretty much inline with other psi experiences of this nature. I have not cheated or miscounted, and I have used the app trying to use my intuition to do the *opposite* of what it was designed to test for because it works better that way and it thwarts any possible rigging of the game (in other words, I am trying to not pick the right box more often than chance and occasionally I mix it up and try to pick the right box, specifying before each round which way I am attempting.) My plan was to get to 10,000 and see if I am still significant. I have been as low as .001 and recently was at .007 before hitting a bad streak and going back to .019. I’ll post my final result soon.

What are we to make of psi if real? Does it prove anything at all? Some say no. I say yes. I doubt quantum entanglement explains it. Even weirder, I think it goes independent of time (so does Persinger). It involves not only a person’s awareness, but it seems to be exacerbated and tied into the sharpness of the emotional state. All these attributes would open some pretty interesting doors of possibility and create a lot of questions such as why it works so poorly and infrequently and why some are better than others at it.

My objection to the “quantum entanglement” idea stems from what I have read from scientists skeptical of psi. They say that entanglement is such a small and fleeting situation in complex macro objects like human brains that there is no way any meaningful entanglement could take place which would account for psi. I suspect telepathy is real and I hope that it has something to do with something other than quantum entanglement (which would just be a newfangled form of mechanistic materialism).

In this interview Persinger discusses  these things and even gives his thoughts on NDEs and his belief that EEGS only measure surface activity and do not capture the other deeper stuff going on in the brain during the proverbial flatline. I still don’t know what to make of the EEG debate other than the fact that a.) Pam Reynolds NDE is hype and b.) We don’t know enough about what is going on *during* the NDE to say one way or the other whether conscious experiences “should” be possible during these states.

I wish more empirical scientists were like Persinger. Materialists confirming psi experiments may be the quickest route to public acceptance.

On a ridiculous note, I had my first OBE lucid dream two nights ago. It was a very lucid dream, a dream that I was having an OBE. No vibrations or separation. I was not perfectly aware. I just remember being excited and saying, “wow I finally did it”, then jumping up and down on my bed and running through walls. I didn’t fly. I remember walking around the neighborhood (which looked nothing like my neighborhood) and then encountering some dogs who saw me and barked at me. I remember thinking “how can they see me even though I am out of body?”. It was a very fun time, despite its absurdity. I have not actually tried to go OOB for weeks, it just happened.

I highly recommend the interview.

Skeptico interview

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NPR’s Steve Paulson Discusses Sam Harris

Posted in Science & Spirituality with tags , , on October 8, 2009 by jackpot12

In this interview on Skeptico, NPR’s Steve Paulson describes being blown away when he interviewed Sam Harris. Paulson learns that America’s most famous atheist is open to the possibility of life after death, ESP, and the possibility that consciousness goes all the way down to subatomic particles. I have even heard Harris discuss his respect for Ian Stevenson’s reincarnation research, suggesting that he is open to the possibility. Harris has read Dean Radin’s book “Conscious Universe”, and although he maintains an attitude of skepticism on psi, he is clearly not fully convinced of Radin’s skeptics.

What is the difference between Harris and his colleagues? I think I know: He is younger. And I am not suggesting he is naive for being younger. I am suggesting that the latest generations of Americans are growing up understanding that the universe doesn’t operate like a big pinball machine.  The older ones were taught that it pretty much was, and they often still pretend it is. Just a few short decades ago we had weird things like segregation, and people wandering around who actually still believed in things like behaviorism. Many of them still haven’t died, while the young among us have never existed in a framework where such things were the norm. Harris is well into his 40’s, but he is young enough to have avoided becoming emotionally attached to the dogmatic materialism of his peers. His razor sharp mind and constant discipline is like a spiritual practice in it’s rigor.  I think Harris does “the Lawrd’s work”.