Tag: parapsychology

147. Can Out of Body Experiences Explain God?

OBE expert Graham Nicholls explains how his out of body experiences have led him to an understanding of the spiritual. Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with Graham Nicholls author of, Avenues of the Human Spirit. During the interview Nicholls discusses why his OBEs have not led him to a belief in God: Alex Tsakiris: On one hand you’re saying being good is the ultimate truth, on the other hand you’re saying being good doesn’t matter. Graham Nicholls: But if we’re talking about this spiritual awareness that I’ve been talking about, then there isn’t a separation.  There would be no selfish statement that you’re making. There would be no, “ this is to my benefit.” Alex Tsakiris: Then there’d be no compassionate statement either. That’s the problem with words like “selflessness”, the can only take us so far in these kinds of discussions. Should we be good?  Is there a moral imperative to be good? This is what the near-death experience research tells us.  NDErs say there is this moral directive. You can deny that, and you can say that’s not your reality, but that’s what you’re debating against. Graham Nicholls: I am saying that’s my reality. I’m saying for me compassion and those things have fallen out of this interconnectedness, this sense of oneness, which is exactly what you’re describing. This sense of love and all those things. But like I said, “good” is not really a word that I’m comfortable with. I’m talking more about this sense of growth, nurturing, of why would we do something to harm the ultimate progression of ourselves? Or, of our reality? That is more where I’m coming from. There doesn’t need to be a higher God. Graham Nicholls's Website Play it: Download MP3 (57:00 min.) Read it: Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Graham Nicholls to Skeptiko. Graham is the author of Avenues of the Human Spirit. He’s an accomplished OBE experiencer. He’s had many out-of-body experiences that he talks about in the book. I’ve known Graham for quite some time and was introduced to him by Rupert Sheldrake. Then about a year ago, I wound up taking an online course on out-of-body experiences from Graham. So it’s a great pleasure to welcome you on Skeptiko, Graham. Graham Nicholls: Thanks, Alex, it’s great to be here. Alex Tsakiris: So this book that you’ve written, Avenues of the Human Spirit, that has been a while in the making but is now out and available on Amazon, is a very personal book about your journey spiritually and how OBEs play into that.

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145. Stanley Krippner Lends Scientific Weight to Paranormal Dreams

Professor of Psychology and well-respected researcher Dr. Stanley Krippner explains how his research supports the reality of precognitive dreams. Join Skeptiko guest host and paranormal dream expert Andy Paquette for an interview with legendary psychology researcher Dr. Stanley Krippner..  During the interview Dr. Krippner discusses whether or not the evidence for paranormal dreaming is well established: Andy Paquette: You’ve been studying dreams for the most part for the majority of your career. Do you feel that the case for precognitive dreaming is proven? Dr. Stanley Krippner: No, I don’t think anything in science is proven. Science is always open-ended. There’s always a chance of revising scientific theory based on new data. Andy Paquette: Of course, that would work both ways, as well, wouldn’t it? So what you’d really be talking about is what does the currently available information indicate? Dr. Stanley Krippner: That’s right. Andy Paquette: And in your case, from what you’ve seen, what do you think the currently available information indicates? Dr. Stanley Krippner: I think you can make a strong case for precognitive dreams. Stanley Krippner's Website Play it: Download MP3 (35:00 min.) Read it: Alex Tsakiris: Today we’re joined by Andy Paquette, who is a former Skeptiko guest and is also the author of Dreamer: 20 Years of Psychic Dreams and How They Changed My Life. Now, Andy is joining us today because he recently attended the 2011 Study of Dreams Conference in The Netherlands, where he was also a presenter. While he was there he was nice enough to snag a couple of interviews for us and he’s here to share them with us. So Andy, welcome and tell us what you’ve been up to.

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144. Lynne McTaggart Reports on Science at the Brink of the Spiritual

Author of The Bond explains how our scientific understanding of human connection leads to spirituality. Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with Lynne McTaggart best-selling author of, The Bond.  During the interview Ms. Mc Taggart discusses how science can give us a greater understanding of the spiritual: Alex Tsakiris: On Skeptiko we’ve found that a deep examination of many of scientific questions quickly leads to questions of the spiritual. Questions of God, questions of the afterlife, questions about the meaning of consciousness. You don’t seem to go there very much. Why not? Lynne McTaggart: Because I wanted to argue in terms of science. I wanted to say we’re operating against nature. We’re operating against science, emerging science that is coming to the fore. I believe the science—I always look at scientific elements and I sit probably where science and spirituality meet because the science that I write about is very spiritual in a way. If you want to look at it this way, I’m just simply looking at it from the point of view of saying we’ve been living against nature. We’ve been living according to the wrong story and that’s why we’re in the mess we’re in. Alex Tsakiris: When we enter into the materialistic, atheistic, science game that’s been dictated and then we find that it no longer holds together, I think it behooves us to take a step back and re-examine things.  For example, you make a good case for the science interconnectedness, not just at a  subatomic level, but at a level we can feel and experience.  Don’t we then need to look our great wisdom traditions and notice that they’ve been saying the same thing all along? Lynne McTaggart: I think that’s what my books try to do all the time. They just provide the scientific basis for what spiritual traditions have been saying for centuries. In a sense, my books are always the science of religion. And yes, we have to understand. You have to take it back to the whole idea of unity infusing everything that we are and everything that we do. That’s a very spiritual idea. Lynne Mc Taggart's Website www.thebond.net Play it: Download MP3 (40:00 min.) Read it: Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome journalist, part-time consciousness researcher, and multiple best-selling author, Lynne McTaggart to Skeptiko. Lynne, thanks so much for joining me today.

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141. Steve Volk Investigates UFOs, Ghosts, Telepathy and Near-Death Experience in, Fringe-ology

Investigative journalist and author Steve Volk seeks a middle-ground between mainstream science skepticism and researchers on the paranormal fringe. Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with Steve Volk, author of Fringe-ology.  During the interview Mr. Volk discusses his personal experience with poltergeist phenomena: Alex Tsakiris: In your book you do a very nice job of exploring the mystery of the paranormal. But at the same time, I look at the mystery associated with your experience with a ghost in your house. That is, what happened to you when you were a kid growing up and you experienced this poltergeist phenomena. At the end of the day, in the book you come away and say, “Well, it’s a mystery.” Steve Volk: It is. Alex Tsakiris: But that’s a tricky word because it could mean two things. It could appeal to that certain group of people who say, “Okay, we don’t know if it really happened. It’s a mystery.” Or another group of people could process it and say, “Oh, it’s a mystery. We don’t know the precise confluence of paranormal things that happened to cause it.” Are we using a word that doesn’t get us to the underlying question about this mystery? Steve Volk: I think in the totality of that chapter with the fact that I explore the idea of it having been a traditional sort of ghost, along with a range of skeptical explanations from the fantasy-prone personality which is really purely a psychological one to what I consider the more exotic materialist theories like Vic Tandy’s theory of infrasound that there are these sound waves below the level of human hearing that can cause us to even have visual hallucinations, on through Persinger and the electromagnetic energy temporal lobe interaction that he’s been pursuing for a while now, there’s this range of potential explanations right? I wanted to just put them all out on the table because I think that they all have some sort of validity. I think we need to be willing to consider all these possibilities. I suppose, in that respect Alex, I might appear a little bit of a gadfly at times because I’m challenging everyone to look at all the possibilities all the way on through. Steve Volk's Website Play it: Download MP3 (44:00 min.) Read it: Alex Tsakiris: We’re joined today by someone you’ve gotten to know over the last few episodes of Skeptiko as Steve Volk has been a guest host here and brought us three very informative, insightful interviews about the history of parapsychology, neuro-theology, and ghosts. Today Steve is here to talk about his new book, Fringe-ology, a book that covers all these topics and a lot more. Steve, welcome to Skeptiko. Steve Volk: Alex, thank you so much for having me.

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139. Are Ghosts Real? Guy Lyon Playfair’s Thirty-Year Investigation Yields Insights

Noted parapsychology investigator and author Guy Lyon Playfair discusses poltergeists, after-death communication and the telepathy of twins. Join Skeptiko guest host Steve Volk for an interview with Guy Lyon Playfair.  During the interview Mr. Playfair summarizes what he’s learned about the poltergeist phenomena: Steve Volk: What’s your best guess, at this stage, after all these years, on what poltergeists, or ghosts, are. Guy Playfair: The short answer is that there are two possibilities. Either they are some kind of discarnate entity – which I certainly don’t rule out – or else they are an entirely unknown force that emanates from the human mind.  How it works we simply don’t know. We can only observe its effects. I think there’s quite strong evidence that it’s some kind of so-called spirit or discarnate entity, kind of drifting blobs of exo-intelligence, if you like. But that is an extremely controversial opinion and not many people share it. Steve Volk: I do find it interesting that in some cases skeptics have started putting forth more complicated and I would say more interesting theories than the usual, the mind plays tricks, wishful thinking, creaking floorboards, leaky pipes kind of explanations. Guy Playfair: Yes, there’s another possible line of inquiry. Poltergeist outbreaks have got certain features in common with Tourette’s syndrome, where you get these sorts of jerks and muscular spasms and things and also very strange vocal sounds. A poltergeist looks rather like an extension of some super-Tourette’s where not only the muscles twitch but furniture starts twitching as well. But that’s not my idea. That was actually Michael Persinger and William Roll, who is a very experienced researcher. I think it’s an interesting line to follow up. Guy Lyon Playfair's wiki entry Play it: Download MP3 (33:00 min.) Read it: I’m Steve Volk, guest hosting for Alex Tsakiris on Skeptiko. My guest today is Guy Lyon Playfair, a journalist and translator who has been conducting paranormal research seemingly forever. His first book, The Unknown Power, a book on psychical research, was written in 1975. In the ensuing years he’s written about Uri Geller, hypnotism, telepathy among twins, reincarnation, and we’ll discuss some of those things. Today we’re going to focus out of the gate on the topic of Guy’s new book, a re-release really, of a book first published in 1980. The book is called, This House Is Haunted, and it deals with the very famous Enfield Poltergeist case. I wanted to talk to Guy because in my book, Fringe-ology, I kind of out myself, describing what I call “the family ghost,” an old ghost story I grew up with as a child. I was about six years old and have a few memories of the events my family’s described to me. In general, without getting into too much detail, there was a booming and thumping sound that came from the walls and ceiling. It seemed to respond to my parents’ movements in the house. My sisters talked about having the blankets pulled from them as they slept, their beds shaking in unison in the middle of the night, and a female apparition who walked through the room. I’m hoping Guy, in talking about the Enfield case, can give me a little insight into poltergeists, including some details from a new study which used some recordings from the Enfield case, conducted by Dr. Barrie Colvin, with whom Guy cooperated. Hopefully we will get to much else besides. Guy, thanks for being on Skeptiko. Guy Playfair: Thank you for having me.

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132. Deborah Blum On the Taboo of Paranormal Science Reporting

Pulitzer Prize winning author Deborah Blum discusses the challenges of science reporting and the paranormal taboo. Skeptiko guest host Steve Volk welcomes Deborah Blum author of, Ghost Hunters - William James and the Hunt for Scientific Proof of Life After Death. During the interview Ms. Blum discusses her approach to covering the paranormal: Steve Volk: This is one of the hardest things. Who do we believe? Who do we trust? I want to see somehow people in the middle pick this stuff up and look at it, but that's a very, very rare occurrence. Deborah Blum: I agree. Like I said, I'm a mainstream science journalist and daughter of a chemist. But what was fascinating to me when I started working on Ghost Hunters is that I'd go and give talks at different universities. I mean literally, I was at the University of Florida and they said, 'Oh, let us tell you about our haunted laboratory.' Or I was at a meeting with a bunch of animal researchers and I was sitting next to a very respected scientist from Stanford who immediately started telling me about the telepathic experiences she'd had with a friend of hers who is a scientist at Southwestern University. I thought to myself, 'This whole world exists that really those of us in the skeptic/science community never see because people just don't tell you about it. Steve Volks's website Fringe-ology Trailer Deborah Blum - Ghost Hunters Play it: Download MP3 (58:00 min.) Read it: Welcome to Skeptiko, where we explore controversial science with leading researchers, thinkers, and their critics. I'm your host, Alex Tsakiris. On this episode, as you just heard, there's a new voice behind the interview so before we get started I thought we'd take a minute and introduce that voice, that being the voice of journalist and author, Steve Volk, who's joining me right now.

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126. Andy Paquette Claims 20 Year History of Precognitive Dreams

The author of, Dreamer: 20 Years of Psychic Dreams and How They Changed My Life, discusses his psychic and precognitive experiences. Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview discussing precognition and the psychic dreams of author Andy Paquette. During the interview Mr. Paquette discusses the differences between real life precognition expereinces and labratorty experiments on ESP like those of Dr. Daryl Bem, "Well, the funny thing about asking me a question like that is that while I am aware of some of those things, I became aware of them after I already knew that precognition happens because it happened to me in much more dramatic ways than was ever recorded in the lab. On the other hand, the reason he is studying it in the first place is because there are people like me who've had more dramatic examples of precognition. We've recorded them or passed them on to other people and this eventually makes researchers curious." Paquette continues, "Now the problem with testing in the lab as I see it, is that you're trying to duplicate an effect that has a very specific reason for coming into being without knowing what that reason is and without having any way to recreate those conditions because you don't understand the reason to begin with. This, in my mind, is the reason why laboratory results tend to be very weak. It's because they're not really duplicating the right circumstances that cause these kinds of things to happen. So what happens is they kind of nick the edge of this thing that they're researching, and even that little tiny slice they get is enough to support a hypothesis of precognition. However, it's not as dramatic as the kind of real-life, spontaneous examples such as the ones that occurred with me." Visit Andy's website Help pilot Dr. Rupert Sheldrake's telepathyexperiment.com Play it: Download MP3 (31:00 min.) Read it: Welcome to Skeptiko, where we explore controversial science with leading researchers, thinkers, and their critics. I'm your host, Alex Tsakiris. Before we get started with today's interview I just want to make a quick little announcement here. Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, whom many of you know through his work, his many books, his very interesting website, and his appearance on the Skeptiko show, is launching a telephone telepathy experiment here, available in the U.S. and Canada. He's looking for some folks to help him pilot this study.

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111. Parapsychology Researcher Dr. Stephen Braude Battles Against “Sleazy Arguments”

Interview with Dr. Stephen Braude reveals challenges and opportunities of controversial psi research into mediumship and psychokinesis. Research into controversial topics like psychic mediums is tough, but some researchers find it’s made even tougher when skeptics favor the weakest cases over the strongest. Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for and interview with Professor of Philosophy and psi researcher, Dr. Stephen Braude. During the interview Dr. Braude recounts his entree into psi research, “… there was all this other stuff that had been happening outside the lab from séances and anecdotal reports and I figured if I was an honest intellect I at least needed to become acquainted with it before I rejected it summarily. So I first studied the evidence for large-scale, and physical mediumship in particular. That was a momentous event because the evidence blew me away… I discovered that the evidence was much cleaner than people made it out to be.” Braude continues, “The usual arguments about the evidence being easily dismissed because of poor observation or poor conditions of observation demonstrated really a lack of command of the evidence. One of the things that struck me was that people were dismissing the non-experimental evidence by appealing to the sleaziest of arguments. They would focus on the weakest pieces of evidence and then generalize from that, which is simply straw man reasoning. The principle on which I operated all along is that the cases that matter from outside the lab have to be the strongest cases, the ones that are the hardest to explain away.” Dr. Stephen Braude Adam Curry at Psyleron, a company that explores the connection between the mind and the physical world. Update from Dr. Sam Parnia Play it: Download MP3 (31:00 min.) Read it: Adam Curry: So Steve, can you give me a little capsule about who you are?

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107. Massimo Pigliucci on How to Tell Science From Bunk

City University of New York Professor skeptical of near-death experience, likens NDE researchers to astrologers. There's pseudoscience, bunk, scientific nonsense, and then there's real science… at least according to Dr. Massimo Pigliucci author of, Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science From Bunk. Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with Professor Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. During the hour-long interview Dr. Pigliucci rejects claims of near-death experience science.  When asked to explain why so many NDE researchers have concluded otherwise Dr. Pigliucci stated, " that's like saying the vast majority of astrologers are in agreement with the fact that astrology works." Pigliucci also offers his opinion on how non-scientists should choose sides on controversial science issues like climate change, "I am about to go to the Amazing Meeting in Las Vegas, which is organized by the James Randi Foundation, and I fully expect to upset several people there because my presentation will be about how skeptics are not scientists and therefore, they shouldn't really pass judgment on issues for which the scientific community has reached a consensus. For instance, let me give you an example. Several skeptics, including James Randi, are skeptical of the notion of climate change and global warming. Well, I'm sorry, but that's not their place. They're not climate scientists; they know nothing about climate science. And frankly, they don't have the expertise to pass judgment." Download MP3 Play It: Read It: Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome someone who—let me get this straight—has three PhDs, is that right? Dr. Massimo Pigliucci: That's correct. Alex Tsakiris: So Dr. Massimo Pigliucci is a Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York. He's a well-known thinker and writer in the skeptical community, and he's also the author of  several books, including his latest that we're going to talk about today entitled, Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science From Bunk. Dr. Pigliucci, welcome to Skeptiko. Dr. Massimo Pigliucci: It's a pleasure to be here.

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100. Dr. Garret Moddel Brings Psi Research to University of Colorado Classroom

Professor at University of Colorado's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering guides students through experiments demonstrating unexplainable psychic phenomena. With a stellar academic and professional background Dr. Garret Moddel had little to gain by venturing into controversial research on psychic phenomena.  But for a professor who long ago tackled quantum engineering cutting edge research comes naturally. Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with University of Colorado engineering professor Dr, Garret Moddel. During the 40-minute interview Dr. Moddel describes the challenges of bringing controversial research into the classroom, "I spent most of my career doing essentially quantum engineering, which is engineering little devices based upon quantum mechanical principles. Then about ten years ago on Sabbatical, I got in contact by accident with a physicist who had a library full of books on the science of psychic phenomena. I was absolutely blown away. I couldn't believe what I saw. I ended up spending the whole Sabbatical going through his library. After that, I was convinced that this is really where the new science and revolutionary ideas are going to come from, so I still continue my mainstream research and most of my colleagues don't know about my psi phenomena research, although it is on my website. I think they choose not to know." Dr. Moddel's students learn about the science behind these strange phenomena and prove to themselves that they exist, "the course goes through the history of psi research and we use different textbooks depending on the time. Right now the two textbooks that I'm using are Dean Radin's Entangled Minds, which is just a wonderful, wonderful book describing psi research and then also Chris Carter's book on Parapsychology and the Skeptics, which takes a wonderful philosophical view of all of this and puts it in perspective. Then each student or each group of students must carry out an independent psi research project. This has to be high quality research. It's got to be publishable quality research. Half the grade depends upon it. And they take it quite seriously. They come up with very creative experiments." The Society for Scientific Exploration (SSE) is a professional organization of scientists and scholars who study unusual and unexplained phenomena. Subjects often cross mainstream boundaries, such as consciousness, ufos, and alternative medicine, yet often have profound implications for human knowledge and technology. Play it: Download MP3 (43:30 min.) Read it: Alex Tsakiris: Let me give you some of the highlights from the Curriculum Vitae of today's guest. Let's start with electrical engineering degree from Stanford, master's and PhD in applied physics from Harvard, professor at University of Colorado, former CEO of a venture-backed high technology start-up. And on top of all that, President of the Society for Scientific Exploration.

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97. Rupert Sheldrake and Richard Wiseman Clash Over Parapsychology Experiments

Lively debate between biologist Rupert Sheldrake and telepathy skeptic Richard Wiseman reveals wide rift between skeptics and psi proponents Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for a spirited debate between biologist, author, and telepathy researcher, Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, and noted researcher of anomalous psychology, and parapsychology skeptic, Dr. Richard Wiseman. During the 90-minute episode Sheldrake and Wiseman discuss the scientific evidence for telepathy and other psi phenomena. The debate covers a range of topics, but according to moderator Alex Tsakiris, the real friction began after the debate ended, "During the debate, Dr. Wiseman appeared eager to participate in collaborative research with parapsychologists.  He went to great lengths explaining why skeptics and psi proponents should team-up on experiments of telepathy and other psi phenomena.  But during an email exchange following the debate (published on the Skeptiko website), his stance took a radical change." According to Tsakiris, Wiseman stonewalled attempts to create a skeptics/proponents research forum,  "I contacted three very prominent psi researchers and convinced them to take Wiseman up on his offer.  They agree, but Wiseman would not.  He made various demands aimed at agitating the other researchers, and even balked at a mere one-hour initial dialog.  I was stunned, especially since I offered to fund the research." The discussion began with Professor Richard Wiseman offering a defense for scientific skepticism regarding psi phenomena, "In terms of my own research, some of it has looked at the notion that certain individuals possessing very strong psychic abilities, the mediums and the psychics and so on, and I'm very, very skeptical about that data. I don't think it shows anything particularly remarkable in terms of psychic ability going on. And then I've done a small amount of work, although other people have done a lot more, into the notion that psi is a more subtle signal. There, I'm fairly skeptical about the literature. I certainly wouldn't want to argue the case that psi definitely exists on the basis of that literature." But Sheldrake challenged the idea of relegating telepathy and other psi phenomena to the fringes of science, "I just want to go back a bit to what Richard called the Humian argument against miracles. Hume's argument against miracles was that miracles are extremely rare and it's more likely that people have been lying about them than that they actually happened. They so defy the common experience of humanity. Now, I think the argument is exactly reversed when it comes to phenomena like telepathy. They're not extremely rare. Whether it's 30 percent, 50 percent, 70 percent of the population who have had them, the details don't matter. The point is these things are very common.  Hume's argument was that commonsense, the kind of common experience of the bulk of humanity, is what gives credence to something. So I think it's completely inappropriate to apply an argument against miracles to phenomena which happen on an everyday basis to large numbers of people." Next, the discussion examined the institution of science itself.  Wiseman was asked to defend his statement, "I agree that by the standards of any other area of science that is proven. That begs the question do we need higher standards of evidence when we study the paranormal?". In defense of this, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" argument, Wiseman stated, "I think that parapsychologists by not far from 100 years of research have failed to come up with that level of evidence. It's not to say they couldn't in the future, but to me there just hasn't been the level of progress that you would expect given the amount of work that's been put in... that strength of evidence simply isn't there." To which Sheldrake responded, "Again, I come back to the fact that what we're dealing with here is an ideological issue. I mean, what Richard calls mainstream science and there's a kind of materialistic faith that many scientists have, at least in public. Many of them in private have telepathic experiences and have quite different views. Nevertheless, he's right. There is a kind of materialistic ethos in science. I think that itself is something we need to question and look at because it leads to an extraordinary blindness. He said that if you said there's a car outside, you wouldn't need to look. If you said there's a spaceship, you would, because that's an incredible claim. So it's okay for cosmologists to claim there are entire universes out there, a whole lot of universes, not just one, but trillions. No one bothers to look. The reason that gets past the filters is it doesn't overturn a particular ideology. What's at stake is not science itself but ideology." Special thanks to Bruce Mann. Play it: Download MP3 (75:48 min.) Read it: Alex Tsakiris: We have a very special live dialogue today between Dr. Richard Wiseman, Professor of Psychology at University of Herefordshire in the UK. In addition to his job there at the university, Dr. Wiseman, as many of you know, is also a parapsychology skeptic and an author of many popular books such as Quirkology, which explores the quirky way our mind works.

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91. Global Consciousness Project Welcomes Collaboration With Skeptics

When it comes to claims of a global consciousness linking us all to tragedies like the earthquake in Haiti, or the terrorist attacks of  9/11, there are many skeptics. While the research results of the 12 year old Global Consciousness Project have withstood serious skeptical examination from researchers who've dug into the millions of test results collected on the publicly available website, skepticism persists. But according to Alex Tsakiris, host of the Skpetiko science podcast, dialog between controversial science researchers and their doubters is a good for science, "it's easy to have a knee-jerk reaction to unconventional science - that's what makes it unconventional - but skeptics need to look deeper... critical thinking demands we're sometimes critical of our own cherished beliefs." Tsakiris continued: "We've helped initiate a collaboration on the Global Consciousness Research Project work of Dr. Roger Nelson, and a skeptical researcher from the University of London named Dr. Chris French.  That's a step in the right direction.  Many skeptics bemoan the lack of interest in science education, but when presented with the chance to explore topics like the Global Consciousness Project, that clearly have great fascination to the public, they shy away.  This is unfortunate. Science is a method, it's not a position.  There are no unscientific topics, just unscientific methods." Play it: Download MP3 (13:15 min.) Read it: Alex Tsakiris: Welcome to Skeptiko, where we explore controversial science with leading researchers, thinkers, and their critics. I'm your host, Alex Tsakiris, and on this episode of Skeptiko I wanted to do a little bit of an update.

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89. “God Helmet” Inventor, Dr. Michael Persinger Discovers Telepathy Link in Lab Experiments

Neuroscience Researcher and Laurentian University professor, Dr. Michael Persinger, demonstrates telepathy under laboratory conditions. Claims of telepathy, ESP and other psi phenomena are a mainstay of popular culture but taboo in neuroscience research circles.  Fortunately, Dr. Michael Persinger of Canada's Laurentian University has never been afraid to venture where other researchers fear to go. In the 1980's Persinger made headlines with his "God Helmet", a device that stimulates temporal lobes with a weak magnetic field in order to produce religious states. Now, Persinger has discovered the same type of brain stimulation can create metal states conducive to human telepathy.  "What we have found is that if you place two different people at a distance and put a circular magnetic field around both, and you make sure they are connected to the same computer so they get the same stimulation, then if you flash a light in one person's eye the person in the other room receiving just the magnetic field will show changes in their brain as if they saw the flash of light. We think that's tremendous because it may be the first macro demonstration of a quantum connection, or so-called quantum entanglement. If true, then there's another way of potential communication that may have physical applications, for example, in space travel." While Persinger's experiments could prove groundbreaking, he remains doubtful about his controversial findings reaching his colleagues, "I think the critical thing about science is to be open-minded. It's really important to realize that the true subject matter of science is the pursuit of the unknown. Sadly scientists have become extraordinarily group-oriented. Our most typical critics are not are mystic believer types.  They are scientists who have a narrow vision of what the world is like." Play it: Download MP3 (35:40 min.) Read it: Alex Tsakiris: Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science with leading researchers, thinkers, and their critics. I'm your host, Alex Tsakiris, and before we get started with today's interview, and a very fascinating interview it is with Dr. Michael Persinger, I'm going to take a minute and invite you to connect - connect with this show, Skeptiko, and with me personally.

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73. Skeptoid’s Brian Dunning Finds Global Consciousness Project Lacking

Guest: Brain Dunning, host of the popular Skeptoid Podcast, joins Alex Tsakiris to discuss how skeptics view the Global Consciousness Project. Play it: Download MP3 (33 min.) Read it: THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED Alex Tsakiris:    Welcome to Skeptiko, where we explore controversial science with leading researchers, thinkers, and their critics. I'm your host, Alex Tsakiris, and on today's show, the Global Consciousness Project. We're going to come at this from a number of different angles. The way I got here is really I think the biggest part of this story, but more of that will come later. First let me tell you a little bit about what the Global Consciousness Project is.

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71. Michael Schmicker, Best Evidence of PSI

download skeptiko-2009-05-12-87881.mp3 Guest: Michael Schmicker, Author of, Best Evidence: An Investigative Reporter’s Three-Year Quest to Uncover the Best Scientific Evidence for ESP, Psychokinesis, Mental Healing, Ghosts and Poltergeists, Dowsing, Mediums, Near Death Experiences, Reincarnation, and Other Impossible Phenomena That Refuse to Disappear Read it: Alex:    Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science with leading researchers and critics, I am your host Alex Tsakiris and today we have a great, delightful interview for me with Michael Schmicker the author of a couple of books that I am going to tell you about as we get into the interview - it´s pretty long, I am going to jump right in to it, here it goes. We are joined today by the author of a couple of very interesting books that we are going to talk about, the first Best Evidence, an investigative reporter´s three year quest to uncover the best scientific evidence for ESP, pyschokinesis, ghosts, poltergeists, dousing, mediums, near death experience, reincarnations and other impossible phenomena that refuse to disappear. Quite a long title but one that really tells what the book is about, the other book we are going to talk about is The Gift, ESP, the extraordinary experiences of ordinary people - a book he co-authored with Doctor Sally Rhine Feather who is the daughter of J.B Rhine the founder of the famous Rhine Research Center at Duke. So if all that is a way of introduction Mike Schmicker welcome to Skeptiko.

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