73: News

Skeptoid’s Brian Dunning Skeptical of Global Consciousness Science

Debate between skeptic and believer highlights differences in how controversial science is understood and accepted

Del Mar, CA, May 28, 2009 – The idea of “global mind” doesn’t sit right with skeptic, and host of the popular Skeptiod Podcast, Brain Dunning. Dunning’s not just uncomfortable with the idea of an interconnected planet, but with the science used to investigate such claims. He labels it, “fringe science”, and, “pseudoscience”. Not so for global consciousness believer, and Skeptiko host, Alex Tsakiris. Tsakiris believes the science behind global consciousness is solid, and the ten years of accumulated data, impressive.

Join host Alex Tsakiris when he interviews Brain Dunning of Skeptoid for a 30-minute skeptic versus believer debate on the Global Consciousness Project. The interview can be heard at: www.skeptiko.com/73-skeptoid-brian-dunning/.

During the interview Dunning and Tsakiris spare over the science behind The Global Consciousness started by Dr. Roger Nelson of Princeton, and Dr. Dean Radin of the Institute of Noetic Sciences. They also discuss whether the project’s results show proof an interconnectedness among people around the planet:

Brian Dunning: “I’ve never heard of them doing a prediction that came true. I’ve only…”
Alex Tsakiris: “Oh, yeah, they do. Brian, they’ve done New Year’s Day for the last – I don’t know – seven or eight years.”
Brian Dunning: “Well, that’s not a prediction. Everyone knows New Year’s Day is going to happen.”
Alex Tsakiris: “It is a prediction to say that…”
Brian Dunning: “It’s a prediction to say New Year’s Day is coming next January First?”
Alex Tsakiris: “Well, you’re being flippant. I mean, it’s a prediction to say that we expect to see an effect of non-randomness in all these pods we have around the world on New Year’s Day…”

Dunning goes on to point out numerous methodological errors in the research and the way it is analyzed:

“I did read their pages pretty thoroughly… some of their results happened before the event, some of them happened during the event, some of them happened after the event. Some of them are very brief, some of them can take a long time. Some of them don’t happen for hours afterwards, some of them happened seconds afterward…. what strikes me the most is that after the event happens, they then go to the data and look for patterns. That’s the opposite of how this should be done. The data should be analyzed by statisticians who have no idea what time period or what possible events it might correlate to. They need to know exactly what type of effects they’re looking for, and once that’s done and marked and established, then you can take the blinding off and compare those results to what the predicted events were.”

A complete transcript of the interview is available at: www.skeptiko.com/73-skeptoid-brian-dunning/

Brian Dunning is the host and producer of the podcast Skeptoid (skeptoid.com).  A Silicon Valley computer scientist by trade, Brian now uses new media to promote critical thinking. He has appeared on numerous radio shows and television documentaries.

About Skeptiko

Skeptiko.com is the first scientifically oriented Podcast exploring new research in controversial areas of science such as telepathy, psi, parapsychology, near-death-experience, psychic detectives, medium communication, reincarnation, and after-life encounters. Each episode features open, honest debate on new scientific discoveries. The show includes interviews with top research scientists and their critics.

About OpenSourceScience
OpenSourceScience is the first scientifically oriented website to bring the power of open source methods to the skeptical examination of controversial areas of science such as telepathy, psi, parapsychology, near-death experiences, reincarnation, and after-life encounters.

Alex Tsakiris: (858) 225-7554
Email: news@skeptiko.com