Dean Radin on Taboos – psychic research, science, and the devil

November 3rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

In the clips below, Professor Dean Radin talks about taboos, which at first glance might seem an unusual topic for a scientist to tackle.

But as one of the leading researchers into consciousness and psychic phenomena, he knows quite a bit about them.

The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena

Radin is the author of the book The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena.

He’s been studying such things as clairvoyance, psychokinesis, and telepathy from a strictly scientific perspective for years.

And he’s certainly not the only one, as evidenced by the literally thousands of experiments he reviews in his books.

What makes him different is that he’s not afraid to say out loud that he’s seriously interested in such a ‘woo woo’ topic. A topic he describes as ‘taboo’ within the scientific community.

It’s not because there’s a lack of interest. As he points out, studies have consistently shown that there’s plenty, in both the general population, and that of college professors.

Radin believes it comes down to the culture of science itself, where concepts of religion and spirituality are considered completely irrational, and if not useless, potentially harmful to the search for truth.

Radin thinks otherwise, having found in his own work that there’s plenty of worthwhile research to be done in the consciousness and psychic fields. Not to mention, it’s very very interesting.

#15 The Devil from the Rider Waite Smith Tarot

#15 The Devil

For me, this discussion brought to mind the Devil card from the Tarot deck. It’s the card I most associate with taboos, and with the breaking of them.

The Devil is very physical, maybe not so rational, but very concerned with the material, with what’s in the ‘real’ world.

His biggest challenge is to connect with the spirit and to avoid becoming so obsessed with the sensations around him that he misses the subtler energies that are also there.

When we’re unable to look beyond the purely physical, we risk getting caught up in the Devil’s trap. He convinces us that what we see is all there is, and that it’s dangerous to check for ourselves to make sure he’s right.

It’s a shame if scientists, known for their intelligence and objectivity, tie themselves to this devil-like attitude. It builds taboos around what can and cannot be explored, and does nothing more than hold us all back.

I’ve posted the 1st, 3rd, and 4th clips from Radin’s talk. It was part of the ‘Conversations from the Edge’ 2006 series in San Francisco.

The first part defines what is a taboo, while the second two discuss the scientific taboos around psychic research.

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Authors of the Impossible

May 3rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Authors of the Impossible Movie Poster

Authors of the Impossible

Check out this Impossible Talk.

It’s a series of podcasts hosted by Jeffrey J. Kripal and Scott H. Jones, featuring topics on the paranormal, consciousness and religion.

Kripal is a religious historian and presently chairs the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University.

He’s the author of several books, including The Serpent’s Gift: Gnostic Reflections on the Study of Religion, Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion, and his most recent, Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred.

Scott Jones is a writer and filmmaker, currently working with Kripal on a film adaptation of Authors of the Impossible. They discuss their film in the first podcast.

I’ve listened to three of the five so far, and am looking forward to the rest. All have been fascinating.

I especially enjoyed Dean Radin, author of Entangled Minds and The Conscious Universe. Mind-blowing stuff.

If you’re interested in that place where science and the mystic meet, you’ll really enjoy these talks. I hope they record more.
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Here’s a short clip from the film. It’s part of an interview with comic book writer Doug Moench where he describes an extremely frightening synchronistic event from his own life.

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Got Psi?

November 5th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

In Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality, Dean Radin looks at psychic phenomena like telepathy, clairvoyance, and psychokinesis and the astounding amount of scientific research that’s been done on it. Thousands of controlled lab tests have been done and Radin surveys the lot.

Entangled Minds by Dean Radin

Entangled Minds

The book is fascinating and I recommend it to psychic practitioners and skeptics alike.  Not to mention, all those in between.  But that’s not really what I wanted to write about here.

The reason I mention the book is that in it, Radin describes a website called Got Psi? It’s run by the Boundary Institute, a nonprofit scientific research organization mostly interested in mathematics, computer science and physics.

But they’re also interested in questions like “Can Causal Influence Propagate Backwards in Time?” and how we might use quantum randomness to send messages into the past.

On their Got Psi? website, they’ve developed a series of informal tests for ‘Psi’ functioning based on the same techniques used in more formal laboratory experiments. And you can do them from your own computer.

They’re great fun. Three different card tests, two remote viewing tests, and a lottery and location test. You get immediate feedback about your performance and can see your scores relative to other testers.

The website reminds us that getting a high score on any of the tests might be due to chance and not your brilliant psychic abilities. Just as getting low or medium scores doesn’t mean you have no ability.

You’ve got to do many runs to get any sort of useful average. As they put it, “Only repeated testing can distinguish between luck and genuine skills.”

So when you’ve got a little time on your hands and feel like some psychic experimentation – go see for yourself? Got Psi?

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PSI Experiments Spin Time

October 23rd, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

Social psychologist Dr. Daryl Bem of Cornell University has been conducting experiments on the human potential to anticipate future experiences. In other words, he’s trying to figure out if we can really see into the future or not.

Over the course of 9 experiments, soon to be published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Dr. Bem took commonly accepted effects like ‘studying improves memory’ and ‘priming decreases response time’ and turned them upside down. The results are intriguing.

In one of the experiments, a group of college students were given a list of words to read over.  When they finished reading the list they were given a surprise recall test to determine how many words on the list they could remember.  When the test was done, a computer randomly generated a selection of words from the list of tested words.  These words were given to each student as ‘practice’.  The students were asked to retype the practice words several times.

Now here’s the fun part …. in the original surprise recall test, the students did better on the practice words randomly selected by the computer after they took the test than they did on the words the computer didn’t pick and they didn’t retype.

It kind of spins your head, but as Psychology Today reports, “According to Bem, practicing the words after the test somehow allowed the participants to ‘reach back in time to facilitate recall.'”  That’s pretty wild stuff.

I’ll be interested to see how the scientific community responds to Bem’s study.  The comments posted after the Psychology Today article might give us a taste.

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If you’d like to read more about PSI experiments, and even some of Dr. Bem’s work, I recommend Dean Radin’s books Entangled Minds and The Conscious Universe. Also excellent is Dr. Diane Hennacy Powell’s The ESP Enigma.  Donnaleigh and I had a chance to speak with Dr. Powell on Beyond Worlds in July.  Listen here to the fascinating interview.

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