Home Forums Deep Time Journey Forum Is the universe a "living system"? Reply To: Is the universe a "living system"?

Ed Lantz

<p>Hi Jon – thanks for addressing my comments.</p><p> </p><p>Ed: “Personally, I’ve moved past such arguments – there is a TON of evidence regarding anomalous information transfer.  Others can wait for “extraordinary proof” to emerge that will put down even the most extreme skeptic, however I’ve grown impatient as the data mounts in favor of a true anomaly.”</p><p> </p><p>Jon: “I don’t see “a TON” of evidence.  We all know that in the 1800’s there were many claims of all kinds of psychic phenomena with very large effect sizes, which, when tested, were found to be either mistakes or outright deception.  Then in the 1900’s , the claims changed name to things like “quantum ESP”, with only a moderate effect size, and when examined closely, these too were found to be either mistakes or outright deception.  Many other claims were made which were debunked, which I’m not mentioning just for space.  Then, in the 1990’s, this paper came out:   http://web.arizona.edu/~vas/358/doespsi.pdf, which was later again found to be either a mistake or outright deception, as shown here:  http://www.deanradin.com/FOC2014/Milton1999Ganzfeld.pdf</p><p> </p><p>”Thanks for the many points to look into about the Bem work, which claimed an even smaller effect.  It seems that a lot of attempts were made at reproducing his work, all of which failed to find any affect – but that many of these were submitted and not published because the Journal doesn’t often publish failed replication experiments.  They finally did so, and here it is: http://deanradin.com/evidence/galak2012.pdf.  The trend here seems to me to suggest that the closer anomalous information transfer/quantum ESP/psychic/etc is looked at, the smaller the effect becomes, which is a common trend for things that turn out to simply not exist.”</p><p> </p><p>You have hand-picked a few “con”articles. There are many more “pro” peer-reviewed articles on Dean Radin’s site where you found those (browse http://deanradin.com/evidence/evidence.htm).  The claim that all papers have been “debunked” or have been shown to be “either mistakes or outright deception” is not at all the case. If you follow the literature you’ll find a lot of back-and-forth – the debunking gets refuted – then those arguments are challenged and so forth (see for instance http://deanradin.com/evidence/Storm2013reply.pdf). These psi effects have not gone away despite rigorous testing. There are hundreds of published studies and numerous meta-studies showing replication of anomalous informational effects… A lot of researchers are convinced that _something_ is going on.</p><p> </p><p>Regarding the claim that Bem’s work has not been successfully replicated, I cited the most recent work of Bem (http://tinyurl.com/o4ylpwj) showing “90 replicated experiments from 33 laboratories in 14 countries which yielded an overall effect greater than 6 sigma, z = 6.40, p = 1.2 Å~ 10-10 with an effect size (Hedges’ g) of 0.09. A Bayesian analysis yielded a Bayes Factor of 1.4 Å~ 109, greatly exceeding the criterion value of 100 for “decisive evidence” in support of the experimental hypothesis. The number of potentially unretrieved experiments required to reduce the overall effect size to a trivial value is 547.” This paper is still being reviewed, but was subjected to one pre-peer review: http://daniellakens.blogspot.com/2014/05/a-pre-publication-peer-review-of-meta.html. The drama continues…</p><p> </p><p>More Evidence for Anomalous Informational Effects</p><p> </p><p>One compelling body of evidence for PSI is from Ganzfield experiments: http://www.psy.unipd.it/%7Etressold/cmssimple/uploads/includes/ESPNQ010.pdf.  </p><p> </p><p>Reincarnation memory case-studies are very suggestive evidence for anomalous information transfer – Dr. Jim Tucker is continuing this research at (http://uvamagazine.org/articles/the_science_of_reincarnation) and recently published a book with his findings – “Reincarnation: 
Return to Life: Extraordinary Cases of Children Who Remember Past Lives” 
by Jim B. Tucker, M.D. – http://amzn.com/1250005841)</p><p> </p><p>Rupert Sheldrake (who is often the subject of harsh attacks by skeptics) has published quite a few telepathy studies that show consistent positive results http://www.sheldrake.org/research </p><p> </p><p>Presentiment experiments are pretty interesting (http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00146/full). Of course, if you dig around, you’ll find all sorts of reasons of why these experiments are flawed.(http://figshare.com/articles/Why_presentiment_has_not_been_demonstrated/1021480). Don’t get me wrong – this is the scientific process in action… Like I said, it’s going to take time to flush this out.</p><p> </p><p>Researchers have pointed out that skeptics will never be convinced with existing experimental designs.  It’s going to take some serious money invested into this work to do that, with far more experimental trials than current experiments provide. Unfortunately such work is not celebrated by the scientific community – it is in fact a taboo area of study. Researchers are frequently attacked for the work that they do. I am not saying that being attacked is evidence that the phenomena are real – it simply point towards a bias that inhibits research. Here are examples of what these researchers have to put up with:</p><p>Russel Targ: https://www.facebook.com/russtarg/posts/863479653677664?fref=nf</p><p>Rupert Sheldrake: His TEDx talk was banned by TED: http://www.ted.com/conversations/16894/rupert_sheldrake_s_tedx_talk.html</p><p>http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/scientific-heretic-rupert-sheldrake-on-morphic-fields-psychic-dogs-and-other-mysteries/</p><p>Dean Radin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qw_O9Qiwqew</p><p>Max Tegmark (not a PSI researcher but he ran into an atheist backlash): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/max-tegmark/angry-atheists_b_2716134.html</p><p> </p><p>Jon: “I’m sorry, I simply don’t see the evidence as you described it:  ‘as the data mounts in favor of a true anomaly.'”</p><p> </p><p>Jon, you probably have not spent as much time as me reading this literature – there really are a lot of studies of many different types that replicate these effects. Recent books by Dean Radin and Russel Targ cite “tons of” references, for instance. I doubt that any volume of studies that I reference will convince you (or any skeptic) that there is strong evidence of “anomalous informational” phenomena. Consensus on this is going to take a long time at the current rate. I am citing these studies as inspiration for my working hypothesis, not as an attempt to convince you that there is sufficient proof to claim that psi/esp has now been substantiated.</p><p> </p><p>In all honesty, it is probably my personal experiences with these phenomena that have tipped the scales for me. Not that I am a “believer,” because I still maintain a healthy skepticism – but as a practical matter I’ve seen enough to stop debating whether or not there is an effect. I am instead theorizing about the underlying mechanisms. If we have a good theoretical basis for anomalous information transfer, we should be able to devise more sensitive testing methods that (hopefully) remove the human element, provide greater repeatability, and as a result deliver not only solid evidence for anomalous correlations of this type, but also generate data that can provide insights into the origin and detailed properties of these phenomena.</p><p> </p><p>Given what I know about quantum information science, I would not consider it “extraordinary” if the universe turned out to be a conduit for non-local information that is accessible to biological organisms to some degree. I do think it would be extraordinary, however, if the universe turned out to have some sort of working “intelligence” operating within its inherent computational capacity. That one is a bit of a stretch, I admit. However it is a testable assertion and, as such, it is a question that is ultimately accessible to the domain of science.</p>