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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Nov > Nov 25

It's all in the Mind...

From: dgullick@interlog.com (David Gullick)
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 97 01:02:20
Fwd Date: Tue, 25 Nov 1997 18:55:26 -0500
Subject: It's all in the Mind...


                 Science proves mind's power over matter
                 ---------------------------------------

 International News                  Electronic Telegraph
 Sunday 16 November 1997             Issue 906

 Science proves mind's power over matter
 By Robert Matthews, Science Correspondent

 External Links
 Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research
 Psychoknesis - Koestler Parapsychology Unit
 Parapsychology Internet Resources
 Fortean Times
 UK Sceptics


 STARTLING evidence that the human mind can exert paranormal control
 over objects has been uncovered by researchers whose findings have
 confounded even hardened sceptics.

 Experiments conducted by a team at Princeton University are being
 hailed as the most convincing demonstration yet of so-called
 psychokinesis (PK), the supposed ability of thought to affect
 inanimate objects.

 Until now, most claims for the existence of PK have rested largely
 on anecdotes of poltergeists wrecking homes and demonstrations
 by stage performers such as Uri Geller, who claims to be able to
 bend forks by thought alone.

 Since the early Eighties Prof Robert Jahn and colleagues of the
 Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research project have been
 perfecting a series of tightly controlled laboratory tests of PK,
 to discover once and for all whether the phenomenon exists.

 The experiments focus on electronic random number generators, which
 produce an utterly unpredictable sequence of ones and zeroes.
 Subjects are asked to concentrate on a display showing the output
 of the generators, and try to change the numbers it produces. Left
 to themselves, the devices will produce equal numbers of ones and
 zeroes in the long run. If PK exists, however, it should reveal
 itself in a bias away from chance expectation as subjects "will"
 the output upwards or downwards.

 Now, after 12 years of experiments involving more than 100 subjects
 in thousands of trials, Prof Jahn and his team have uncovered
 astonishing evidence that the electronic devices can be controlled
 by thought. The human subjects proved capable of altering the
 output of the devices so much that the chances of getting such a
 bias by fluke alone is calculated to be less than one in 1,000
 billion.

 "We believe that we now have pretty incontrovertible evidence for
 this phenomenon," Prof Jahn said. "These effects seem to be broadly
 spread among human operators - it seems to be a common ability."
 Past research into PK based on electronic devices has been criticised
 for not carrying out thorough checks to ensure that the devices are
 unbiased in the first place, and for relying too much on the success
 of a handful of subjects.

 The Princeton team insists that these criticisms are no longer
 valid: the effect appeared with different devices, all of which
 were thoroughly tested beforehand, and with many different subjects.
 Out of nine different sets of experiments, six showed statistically
 significant evidence for PK.

 In contrast, experiments using random number generators based on
 fixed mathematical formulas - which should be immune from psychic
 influence - did not produce any evidence for PK, exactly in line
 with prediction. "We would now lay claim to have the largest datasets
 and the most systematic experiments ever performed," Prof Jahn said.

 The Princeton evidence follows the discovery of equally impressive
 evidence for the existence of telepathy by researchers at Edinburgh
 University. Experiments by Prof Robert Morris and colleagues at the
 university's Koestler Parapsychology Unit suggest that people can
 mentally "transmit" images to others by thought alone.

 Until now, orthodox scientists have dismissed all such claims as the
 result of incompetence or fraud. However, even hardened sceptics now
 admit that these charges are becoming hard to sustain. "I have a lot
 more problems with these results as a sceptic," said Prof Stephen
 Donnelly, a physicist at Salford University and deputy editor of UK
 Skeptic.

 But Chris French, the head of psychology at Goldsmiths' College,
 London, and another long-standing critic of claims for the
 paranormal, said that he was concerned by the tiny size of the
 supposed psychic influence. "The effect sizes are so staggeringly
 small that some people would argue that any sensible person would
 prefer a non-PK explanation," he said. "There's also a worry that
 with the huge number of trials needed, conventional statistical
 theory starts to break down."

 But Prof Jahn said the data is now so strong that the arguments over
 the paranormal must move towards explaining how it works. "We don't
 see much point in continuing the collection of yet more data," he
 said. "We're setting up experiments to get a better comprehension of
 these phenomena."


 8 February 1997: Animals have paranormal feelings too
 22 January 1997: Editors of the paranormal in a flutter over angels
                  and the lottery
 23 November 1996: Playing the spoons

 (c) Copyright Telegraph Group Limited 1997.
     "Electronic Telegraph" and "The Daily Telegraph" are trademarks
     of Telegraph Group Limited.
=====================================================================

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 djg

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