Jun 28, 2007

Mind Influences Matter

You're about to flip a coin. You really, really hope to get tails. Does the effect of your hope, your intention, have any effect on the likelihood that you do get tails?

Of course it does. Duh. Thought affects reality, remember? I must have told you that about 50 times in the past two weeks. Haven't you been paying attention?

See below for an article about an experiment, conducted at one of the Ivy League universities in the United States, to determine whether human intention can affect events which are apparently of a purely random nature.

The experiment is still ongoing. Based on current results so far, the answer is yes, pure human intention does affect such random events. So far, the statistical probability that this answer is wrong is calculated at less than 1 in 1,000,000,000,000.

In other words, there is more than a 999,999,999,999 out of 1,000,000,000,000 chance that human intention does affect apparently random events.

Note: this is not to say that you're going to get 999,999,999,999 tails out of 1,000,000,000,000 times you flip a coin. What the experiment says is that your intention DOES influence the outcome on the event. And that the probability that such a conclusion is wrong is less than 1 in 1,000,000,000,000.

To put it another way, it is quite absurd to believe that human intention does NOT affect "random" events.
Somewhere in the late 1970’s, an undergraduate student at Princeton University approached the then dean of engineering, Dr. Robert Jahn, and complained that not a single member of the engineering faculty was willing to supervise her senior project. “That’s impossible” thought Jahn, until she went on explain what her project was about. “I want to replicate experiments which show that the mind can influence physical matter!” announced the student. When he heard this, Dean Jahn knew exactly what the problem was; even he wouldn’t want to advise a project that was based on such non-sense!

Rather than dismissing her project off the bat, Jahn remembered his earlier promise that students at Princeton could pursue projects in any legitimate topic that interested them. For the sake of promoting free intellectual inquiry he told the student that he would supervise the work himself if she could demonstrate the serious nature of the project.

In the months that followed, Professor Jahn was persuaded that the subject at least warranted some kind of precursory inquiry. Experiments run by a man named Helmut Schmidt at Boeing labs claimed to show a correlation between the output of a device known as a random event generator and the intention of human participants. After talking with Schmidt and contemplating the engineering implications of the data, Jahn agreed to supervise a replication of Schmidt's experiment.

In this experiment, a device called a random event generator would be used much like an electronic coin flipper. The device produces outcomes that can have one of two states, which are analogous to the heads and tails of a coin toss, each with exactly a 50% probability of occurring. Unlike an electronic coin flipper, the REG takes advantage of the fundamental properites of quantum mechanics to generate its random outputs. Unlike most other objects that we encounter, even with information about every element of the system, modern physical theory states that it is impossible to predict the next output from one of these devices.

In the experiment that was being attempted, operators would attempt to distort the 50/50 balance of the device using nothing more than their intention. Operators would literally sit in front of the random event generator and “will” that one outcome be produced more often than another. Over the course of many outcomes, a statistical profile could be built up that would allow the experimenters to contrast the device's output when a person was not attempting to influence it ....
The article is quite long, and split over several web pages. To read in full, start here.

I am busy with some other personal mindhacking projects - I may not blog here so often in the next 2 weeks or so. But rest assured that Mr Wang shall be back to tell you more about how thought affects reality.

There is no escape! Your mind is the universe. Change your mind and the universe must ___________. .

71 comments:

Yau-ming's blog!! said...

A coin...? Why not a 12 sided dice?

Fox said...

Mr. Wang,

There is a million US dollars waiting for you here if you can prove your 'mind influences matter' hypothesis.

You might wish to note that the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) Lab has declined repeatedly the invitation from the James Randi Educational Foundation to replicate their results under controlled observed conditions.

There is also no independent reproduction of the data from PEAR Laboratory.

Henry Leong said...

Mr Wang if you talk about mind over matter,I presume supernatural abilities, which China had quite a lot. What do you think of this person abilities to conduct electricity with his body.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/henryleong/401880019/

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wang is quoting a company whose only business is to sell to the general public a US$300 "package" that can help "harness the power of intention"!!! Doesn't this sound at all fishy at all to Mr. Wang?

And that's apart from the fact that no scientist has been able to reproduce the result! And the result is not accepted for publication in any major scientific journal!

Now that's not to say that thoughts cannot affect reality. But it goes to show that Mr. Wang has to be more careful in his choice of the evidence to present to us. But who am I to lecture Mr. Wang on this. A lawyer should know how picking a witness that is not credible will tarnish even the best case...

Jon said...

Anon said: "A lawyer should know how picking a witness that is not credible will tarnish even the best case"


Hey Anon,

What's not credible about Prof Jahn?

(1) That he was the former Dean of Princeton's School of Engineering and Applied Science?

Or

(2) that he has published his Engineering Anomalies Research in a peer-reviewed journal?

persistently deluded said...

tell that to a gambler - that the ONLY reason why he lost money is because he doesn't 'believe' enough.

Or to a football fan - the ONLY reason why his team lost is because they were not passionate enough. Believe enough, and who knows, their team may win all the league games in a season.

So, the fate of a 50-50 out come belongs to popularity. 20 people hoping for A to happen, 10 people hoping for B to happen. Hence, A will happen more often?

The notion that belief makes thing happen is quite a load of bull. Belief is probably more like a component of wisdom, and it's wisdom that is more decisive. No?

Mr Wang Says So said...

Sad truth is that PEAR scientists have published many papers and asked peers to review,

but they wouldn't.

They are not afraid to say that PEAR is wrong. They are afraid to say that PEAR is right.

It reminds me of other cases in science where a radical breakthrough is made -

eg Dr Brian Weiss, with perfect academic and professional credentials (head of psychiatry in a well-known hospital, and a graduate from top medical universities etc etc)

When he accidentally discovered past-life regression hypnosis, he hid his discoveries for four years

fearing that he would damage his own professional reputation, if he spoke the truth -

that his patients, under deep hypnosis, were recalling past lives

AND

what happened in the space between their past lives.

And now I hear that past-life regression hypnosis has entered the syllabus for psychiatry students in some universities, heheh.

It's just like that chap in ancient times, who discovered that actually, the earth goes around the sun

and not the other way around;

and was afraid to say it. For fear of being punished by the church.

I'm also reminded by Charles Darwin, severely criticised for suggesting that maybe man evolved from apes, instead of being created on the 6th day of existence by God. Haha.

Jahn had his fair share of critics at Princeton. They wanted his lab to be shut down, saying that he was an embarrassment to science. Jahn opened his lab and offered his experiments up for full review, asking that his methodology and results be checked by 3rd party scientists.

For 28 years, no one at Princeton could point to any real flaws in Jahn's methodologies or any evidence that he had cheated or cooked anything up. That is why his lab was allowed to carry on.

Mr Wang Says So said...

The notion that belief makes thing happen is quite a load of bull.

According to the available scientific results, your statement has a 1 in 1,000,000,000,000 chance of being right.

Tsk, tsk. How unscientific you are. I bet you also don't believe in quantum physics.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Professor Jahn is also a scientist with NASA. The US government trusts him to send rockets to outer space, but the moment he talks about consciousness and matter, he becomes a fraud and idiot.

LOL. People, people. Learn to question your own thinking.


Professor of Aerospace Science
and Dean, Emeritus

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Princeton University,

Professor Jahn is Dean Emeritus of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and has been chairman of the AIAA Electric Propulsion Technical Committee, associate editor of the AIAA Journal, and a member of the NASA Space Science and Technology Advisory Committee. He is vice President of the Society for Scientific Exploration and Chairman of the Board of the International Consciousness Research Laboratories consortium. He has been a long-term member of the Board of Directors of Hercules, Inc. and chairman of its Technology Committee, and a member and chairman of the Board of Trustees of Associated Universities, Inc. He has received the Curtis W. McGraw Research Award of the American Society of Engineering Education and an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Andrha University.

Research Projects

Electric Propulsion and Plasma Dynamics
Investigators: R.G. Jahn and E.Y. Choueiri
Support: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, U. S. Air Force

High-power electrical discharges are used to accelerate a variety of working fluids to very high velocities. These intense discharges and the plasma streams they produce are configured into several types of magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters which offer a desirable combination of high specific impulse and high thrust density for advanced space propulsion applications. The research emphasis is on the physical processes by which the electrical input is converted to useful thrust, and on those which limit the operational lifetime of such thrusters. Most of the studies are conducted in the Electric Propulsion and Plasma Dynamics Laboratory, which features a number of space-simulating vacuum facilities, a variety of specialized diagnostic devices, and sophisticated computational equipment.

Publications

Plasma Propulsion

Physics of Electric Propulsion. McGraw-Hill Series in Missile and Space Technology, New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company (1968).

(with E.Y. Choueiri)
“Electric Propulsion.” In Encyclopedia of Physical Science and Technology, 3rd Edition. R.A. Myers, ed. San Diego: Academic Press, Vol. 5, pp. 125–141 (2002).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Engineering Anomalies Research
Investigators: R.G. Jahn and B.J. Dunne
Support: Several philanthropic organizations and individuals

The interaction of human operators with sensitive information processing devices and systems is studied by combining appropriate engineering facilities and techniques with a selection of protocols and insights drawn from modern cognitive science. In this work, premium is placed on extraordinarily precise yet robust instrumentation, tight environmental and quality control, multiply redundant on-line data collection and processing, rapid accumulation of large data bases, and sensitive analytical measures to facilitate extraction of small systematic trends from high levels of background noise, while rejecting spurious artifacts. Under these rigorous conditions, certain aspects of these human/machine interactions are found to yield anomalous effects currently inexplicable on the basis of established physical concepts and statistical theory.

Over its 25-year history, the program has produced immense databases generated under highly controlled laboratory conditions, indicating the existence of small but replicable and statistically significant correlations between operator intention and the output characteristics of a variety of random digital and analogue processors. Current experiments involve several microelectronic, mechanical, fluid dynamical, acoustical, and optical devices, and a complementary program of remote perception research, from which a number of technical, psychological, and environmental correlates have been identified. Complementary analytical studies and theoretical models have been developed to facilitate the extraction of the most salient correlations from the empirical data, and to help explicate the basic phenomena in fundamental terms.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Publications


Engineering Anomalies Research

(with B.J. Dunne)
Margins of Reality: The Role of Consciousness in the Physical World. New York-San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (1987).

(with B.J. Dunne, et al.)
“Correlations of Random Binary Sequences with Pre-Stated Operator Intention: A Review of a 12-Year Program.” Journal of Scientific Exploration, 11(3): 345–367 (1997).
(with B.J. Dunne)
“Experiments in Remote Human/Machine Interaction.” Journal of Scientific Exploration, 6(4): 311–332 (1992).

(with B.J. Dunne, et al.)
“Series Position Effects in Random Event Generator Experiments.” Journal of Scientific Exploration, 8(2): 197–215 (1994).

(with R.D. Nelson, et al.)
“FieldREG Anomalies in Group Situations.” Journal of Scientific Exploration, 10(1): 111–141 (1996).

(with Y.H. Dobyns and B.J. Dunne)
“Count Population Profiles in Engineering Anomalies Experiments.” Journal of Scientific Exploration, 5(2): 205–232 (1991).

(with B.J. Dunne, et al.)
“Mind/Machine Interaction Consortium: PortREG Replication Experiments.” Journal of Scientific Exploration, 14(4): 499–555 (2000).

(with B.J. Dunne)
“On the Quantum Mechanics of Consciousness, with Application to Anomalous Phenomena.” Foundations of Physics, 16(8): 721–772 (1986).

(with B.J. Dunne)
“A Modular Model of Mind/Matter Manifestations (M5).” Journal of Scientific Exploration, 15(3): 299–329 (2001).

“M*: Vector Representation of the Subliminal Seed Regime of M5.” Journal of Scientific Exploration, 16(3): 341–357 (2002).

(with B.J. Dunne)
“Science of the Subjective.” Journal of Scientific Exploration, 11(2): 201–224 (1997).

“The Complementarity of Consciousness.” In Cultivating Consciousness for Enhancing Human Potential, Wellness, and Healing, K.R. Rao, ed. (Westport, CT and London: Praeger, 1993) pp. 111–121.

“20th and 21st Century Science: Reflections and Projections.” Journal of Scientific Exploration, 15(1): 21–31 (2001).

“The Challenge of Consciousness.” Journal of Scientific Exploration, 15(4): 443–457 (2001).

“Information, Consciousness, and Health.” Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 2(3): 32–38 (1996).

(with P. Devereux and M. Ibison)
“Acoustical Resonances of Assorted Ancient Structures.” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 99(2): 649–658 (1996).

Yupgi said...

As it happens, Mr Wong, I've always been fascinated by this issue you're discussing. There are a lot of pretty kooky theories out there on this, some by very popular and highly regarded writers. I'm probably telling you what you already know - but just to share with others who are also interested. Lynne McTaggart has written a couple of very accessible (and pretty grounded) books on this: The Field and The Intention Experiment. They opened my eyes to some of the deeper underlying forces at work around us. Great primer material into this topic if anyone is keen. Cheers! Hope you succeed at your mindhacking.

PZ said...

Mr Wang wrote in part:

"In other words, there is more than a 999,999,999,999 out of 1,000,000,000,000 chance that human intention does affect apparently random events."
___________________

It proves human intention affect random event(s.)? Plural?

Houston, we've got a problem. :-)

Wrong conclusion dear sir. What it means is that (assuming this experimental finding is true) intention affected THIS particular random event. Nothing else.

I understand there has been NO other test to replicate this finding? Yes? So not even TWO tests.

"Hasty Generalisation" ring any bells?

From that ONE result you conclude that intention can affect other random events which in turn supports your theory that intention/mind/thought/mindhacking can deliver the Universe you"?

And throwing Dr. Zahn's impressive credentials into the debate validate your hypotheis how?

You never heard of "Argument from Authority"?

Fallacy after fallacy after fallacy to prove your theory.

Zounds

PZ

Jon said...

PZ,

I guess it is people like you that make these scientists decide to discontinue their work.

Anyway, when evaluating arguments, I suggest that you try approaching them with different "priors" (as in the "priors" in Bayesian statistics).

persistently deluded said...

i mean, it's not exactly about disbelief per se.

But c'mon, what about the gambler's and football fans' examples. How do you explain that?

Or is it just that everyone is living in their own realm, and other human beings are nothing more than mere material beings?

If that's so, then it also contradicts with the intention research because´╝ędid not have the intention nor belief for the research to happen one way or the other. But it happened. EITHER I nothing to do with it, or I Must have believed in it or sth, but it still contradicts with my lack of intention/belief because I was sincerely unaware nor have an tinge of awareness nor belief prior to reading of the research.

How do you deal with the contradictions?

Piper said...

http://skepdic.com/pear.html

An article on PEAR and their use of statistics, which is interesting reading.

PZ said...

Jon said...

"I guess it is people like you that make these scientists decide to discontinue their work."

________________

Real scientists work on the principle of falsifiability. If proven wrong, they move on and reassess their postulates, not cling on to their beliefs.

The only way to find what is true or false or explaining the reality around us is the methodology of induction and deduction. Induction is based on data, and deduction on logic.

Mr. Wang's theory and argument fail both tests.

If his theory is indeed true, he is not doing it justice by summoning up fallacious arguments.

If we discard this method of inquiry as you suggest there will be no science and knowledge as we know it but folklore, fairy tale and superstition.

PZ

Jon said...

pz wrote "Real scientists work on the principle of falsifiability."

That's exactly what Prof Jahn has done!

They rejected the null hypothesis (with high statistical significance) that mind has no effect on realities (ie, if the mainstream scientists are correct, then the outcome of their random experiments should not deviate statistically from 50%).

Note that statistical significance does not imply economic significance.

Henry Leong said...

Some monks mastered some supernatural powers, which science can't proof it doesn't mean it is not true.

Kay Leong said...

Hi Mister Wong,

Can I ask you for recommendation of any good books on time management? Thanks in advance.


~K.Leong

persistently deluded said...

It should read:

"Some monks mastered some supernatural powers, which science can't prove it YET doesn't mean it CAN'T BE true."

Even if it's true, the use of belief has no authority in public simply because anything can be justified with it.

PZ said...

Jon wrote in part:

"That's exactly what Prof Jahn has done!"
______________

Oh dearie me...:-)

Please note I have not disputed Jahn's findings.

So it's true! Wunderbar!

But that only proves ONE test has scientifically PROVEN that "intention" can affect that particular random event.

From a scientific standpoint more tests need to be conducted using a 50:50 postulate. IF ten thousand tests later produced the same result then you can say with a high degree of certainty that *intention *can affect "coin tossing". Nothing else.

Can it affect a dice? So you do more tests.

Can it affect more complex random events like the currency markets? So you devise proper parameters to scientifically test your hypothesis.

How about human behaviour?

And so on.

That is science.

You can't jump from ONE test to conclude that intention can affect ALL randoms events. To do so would most be most unscientific and also committing the fallacy of "Hasty Generalisation" in argument.

Mr Wang has committed this illogical leap of faith that masquerades as science and sound reasoning.

It's anything but.

PZ

PZ said...

Henry Leong wrote:

"Some monks mastered some supernatural powers, which science can't proof it doesn't mean it is not true.
_______________

Such as?

PZ

Jon said...

"IF ten thousand tests later produced the same result then you can say with a high degree of certainty that *intention *can affect "coin tossing". Nothing else."

They have already done millions of tests over the past 30 years or so! Their statistical analysis is a correct approach to aggregate all these huge amount of data!


"You can't jump from ONE test to conclude that intention can affect ALL randoms events."

You *might* be right. It's like saying that you can never be sure that your body will free fall if you jump from a tall building (since Newton's Law has never been tested on ALL objects).

But from this ONE TEST alone, you can conclude that there is something out there that we need to understand. It clearly REJECTED the mainstream viewpoint that intentions have NO EFFECT on reality.

Jimmy Mun said...

"Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly."

-Albert Einstein

Henry Leong said...

PZ
I read a chinese newspaper article, that a singer went to Indonesia for a stage show, after the show, she dated a businessman, when he touch her head she follow him and became his mistress, she seems can't control herself, whenever she quarrel with him, he will touch her head and recite some verses, then she automatically followed him. There are countless other examples I don't know is it appropriate to write on this site?

PZ said...

Jon wrote:

"They have already done millions of tests over the past 30 years or so! Their statistical analysis is a correct approach to aggregate all these huge amount of data!"

Great! So now we know our mind can affect coin tossing.

What else have they tested apart from 50:50/coin tossing?

"It's like saying that you can never be sure that your body will free fall if you jump from a tall building (since Newton's Law has never been tested on ALL objects)."

This is a false analogy.

Newton's Laws have been scientifically proven otherwise it would not be called a LAW. If you doubt this law of gravity, then jump from a tall building.

Is there a LAW of "mind over matter" that I am not aware of?

And if someone says "I'll use the law of "mind over matter" to make you vanish", do you not think him mad?

"But from this ONE TEST alone, you can conclude that there is something out there that we need to understand."

Yes! Wonderful!

So now we know that our mind can affect coin tossing.

What else can out minds affect? Dice? Let's investigate and make this wonderful journey of discovery but let's not make wild speculative conjectures prematurely.

PZ

PZ said...

Henry Leong wrote:

"I read a chinese newspaper article, that a singer went to Indonesia for a stage show, after the show, she dated a businessman, when he touch her head she follow him and became his mistress, she seems can't control herself, whenever she quarrel with him, he will touch her head and recite some verses, then she automatically followed him. There are countless other examples I don't know is it appropriate to write on this site?"
_______________

I would put such claims under the occult or paranormal field, certainly not science.

PZ

Jon said...

pz wrote:"Great! So now we know our mind can affect coin tossing. What else have they tested apart from 50:50/coin tossing?"

The problem is that most scientists are not even willing to accept that their results are evidence that your mere thoughts can affect reality.

It is meaningless for them to proceed further with their research unless they can cross this hurdle.


pz wrote: "Newton's Laws have been scientifically proven otherwise it would not be called a LAW."

What do you mean by scientifically proven?

What else did scientists do except for dropping various pieces of objects (possibly in vacuum or on a ramp) and observing the dynamics of their free-fall?

Did scientists drop ALL possible pieces of objects? How did you that the "law" will work now, simply because it has worked in the past? How many experiments have been conducted? Have these experiments been conducted in ALL possible locations? Otherwise, how can we be certain that the "law" will work again?

PZ said...

"Did scientists drop ALL possible pieces of objects? How did you that the "law" will work now, simply because it has worked in the past?"

We are now veering into philosophy and discussing "the problem of induction."

While this is a fascinating topic it's beyond the scope of our discussion. This shouldn't prevent you from reading up on this topic.

If you can't understand and accept that yours is a false analogy after explaining it to you then please take it up with logicians or friends who can enlighten you.

PZ

Henry Leong said...

Uri geller, mind over matter? Which he claimed he can use his mind to bend spoons? I am talking about monks using charms?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uri_Geller

PZ said...

Henry Leong wrote:

"Uri geller, mind over matter? Which he claimed he can use his mind to bend spoons? I am talking about monks using charms?"
___________________

Many magicians have demonstrated how he could have fooled the scientists using misdirection techniques. He has not submitted to any recent examination of his claims since.

If you want better magic how about David Copperfield "flying" and walking through the Great Wall of China?

Do you believe Copperfield can really fly? Or it's merely smoke and mirror illusions?

Charms and such would come under the same category as spells and voodoo - the occult or paranormal.



PZ

Mr Wang Says So said...

Technically, PZ is right.

It's like the Rosenthal experiments. We know that it works on for those rat trainers and those rats in that lab;

and we know that it works for the teachers and children in that school.

We could argue that the Rosentahl effect is not proven to work for rats of different colours; or rats in other labs; or rats that haven't been bred in captivity; or rats in tropical countries; or hamsters; or mice.

We could argue that the Rosenthal effect is not proven to work for children in other schools; or Singaporean children; or children in Normal Stream; or children who attend the morning session; or with teachers born after July 1978 and trained at NIE.

I'm just glad that when the legendary apple fell from the tree and hit Isaac Newton's head, he didn't think to himself:

"Maybe this works only for apples, but not for oranges"

or

"Maybe this works only for apples from this tree, not other trees."

or

"Maybe this works only for this apple, and not for any other apple in the world."

So I grow a little tired, a little bored. I just received two emails from two separate readers, writing on completely different matters. But when I put their emails side by side, something connects, and suddenly I'm just REMINDED of what this is REALLY all about.

And it is all about, is ........

I'll tell you later.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Many magicians have demonstrated how he could have fooled the scientists using misdirection techniques

LOL. James Randi himself was a magician. And "fox" suggested that the Princeton scientists' work is not valid unless verified by James Randi.

PZ said...

"LOL. James Randi himself was a magician. And "fox" suggested that the Princeton scientists' work is not valid unless verified by James Randi."
______________

And your point is?

PZ

PZ said...

Mr Wang wrote:

"I'm just glad that when the legendary apple fell from the tree and hit Isaac Newton's head, he didn't think to himself:

"Maybe this works only for apples, but not for oranges"
____________________

False analogy and "special pleading" fallacy. Wow!

You are saying - since scepticism might retard the progress of truth and knowledge - let's do away with scientific proof and methodology.

Because that's all I have argued.

You are equating this reasonable request to equate it with being overly sceptical and unreasonable.

Is it?

Ok.

Let's dispense with induction and deduction and standards of scientific inquiry as we know it and follow Mr Wang's way forward to progress of knowledge using blind faith.

PZ

Mr Wang Says So said...

"let's do away with scientific proof and methodology."

Jahn's scientific proof and methodology was scrutinised by his critics at Princeton for 28 years in their attempt to close down his lab.

They failed - essentially because they could not find any flaws in his scientific proof and methodology.

hunguptodry said...

every scientific principle or law is only true up to our level of understanding (of the universe).

as our understanding increases the laws get subjected to more and more stringent tests. and ultimately they fail.

in this sense every law will fail. they were never correct in the first place.

a good example is newton's laws of motion. they were correct until einstein introduced realitivity which proved newton's laws incorrect for objects travelling at realitivistic speeds.

now it seems to me that the problem is that our universe is much more complex that any scientific model we conjure up. so any prediction of the models will be mere approximations.

hunguptodry said...

they could well be very very bad approximations.

worse, when viewed under a fine microscope.

hunguptodry said...

that is why we cannot predict the weather. even our best models running in our largest super-computers are gross simplifications.

hunguptodry said...

that is what u get when u try to interpret reality with science.
you just can't do it.

PZ said...

Mr Wang wrote:

"Jahn's scientific proof and methodology was scrutinised by his critics at Princeton for 28 years in their attempt to close down his lab.

They failed - essentially because they could not find any flaws in his scientific proof and methodology."
__________________

I can't comment since I don't the know details for closing his lab.

What has this got to do with our discussion to date? Can you be less cryptic?

PZ

kj said...

Pz is right. The standard induction/inquiry for science is
1- Hypothesis
2- theory
3- law.

Apparently, this mind over matter issue, falls into the category of theory. There is no law whatsoever.

Someone also mentioned for the replication of the test PEAR used. I think that that is unnecessary. PEAR has used 100 odd subjects and over 600m results compilled. You can't dispute that.

However, it is also true that the PEAR experiment is also lacking. It's 1/0 experiment only affects a known quantity, that has barely any significant impact on other people.

So really, what about a 12 sided die?

And what if people wishes for a soccer team to win. Thousands if not millions out there, wishes for say, Man U to win AND lose? Do thoughts really affect such realities/illussions?

It seems that every example that Mr Wang has choosen seem to have a certain constant in it.
That ONLY 1 subject/person wishes/intents/believes that a group of people, results, etc will turn up that way.

And as many have put it, what if many people have their own unique perspective on that single thing? What happens?

Henry Leong said...

http://www.sonoma.edu/users/d/daniels/Pavlov.html
Parlov studies on mind reaction to stimuli.
Mr Wang , I don't think your mind hacking technique can cure psychotic, maybe it can cure neurotic

Fox said...

LOL. James Randi himself was a magician. And "fox" suggested that the Princeton scientists' work is not valid unless verified by James Randi.

I made no such suggestion.

My point was that the experimental data put forward by Jahn has not been independently reproduced by anyone else. Bearing in mind that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, we should be extremely skeptical of the validity such claims. What Mr. Wang fails to mention is that data from the PEAR Lab has never been independently reproduced by others working in parapsychology.

James Randi is a well-known skeptic in America. He also happens to be a magician which gives him the background to uncover chicanery and sleights of hands.

Like I had said, there is a million US dollars for Mr. Wang to prove his "mind over matter" claims. Seriously.

Fox said...

Someone also mentioned for the replication of the test PEAR used. I think that that is unnecessary. PEAR has used 100 odd subjects and over 600m results compilled. You can't dispute that.

Absolutely not.

It is an extraordinary claim on the part of the PEAR Lab totally inconsistent with what we know scientifically. Hence, independent verification is a must.

For all we know, the results could have been affected by something as innocuous as the electromagnetic signal from the elevators in the building or the heat from the nearby cafeteria or a member of the experiment altering the data.

The point of independent verification is to rule out systematic errors. Doing the experiments repeatedly only reduces statistical errors.

Sam said...

I like the fact that James Randi is committed to exposing frauds and quacks who harm other people.

On the other hand, if a person really was psychic or could change reality with their thoughts, they probably wouldn't be content with a paltry million dollars.

Fox said...

There have been attempts to reproduce the findings by PEAR.

From: http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2005/07/68216?currentPage=3

"Stanley Jeffers, a professor of physics at York University in Toronto, attempted to conduct experiments that were similar to Pear's, but couldn't replicate the results. Researchers at two German labs, working in cooperation with Pear, also were unable to replicate results using the same equipment that Pear used.

"If their claims are to be taken seriously in science, they have to be replicated," Jeffers said. "If they can't be replicated, it doesn't mean they're false, but science rapidly loses interest."


Unfortunately, they have failed.

Fox said...


On the other hand, if a person really was psychic or could change reality with their thoughts, they probably wouldn't be content with a paltry million dollars.


There's a big difference. It's not just the odd psychic here and there. Mr. Wang claims that most, if not all, people can do that.

Jon said...

PZ wrote "Newton's Laws have been scientifically proven otherwise it would not be called a LAW.",

And I asked, "What do you mean by scientifically proven? What else did scientists do except for dropping various pieces of objects (possibly in vacuum or on a ramp) and observing the dynamics of their free-fall?"

PZ, Will you care to answer this simple question?

scb said...

Folks, everybody wants peace, but the World is never peaceful, please make your own conclusions. None of us is ever wrong, it is all in the (personal-own) mind! Be at peace; from an atheist again.

scb said...

Btw, i do not believe in gods and i do not believe in scientists, because we are all illusions! i believe in living.

PZ said...

Jon wrote:

"And I asked, "What do you mean by scientifically proven? What else did scientists do except for dropping various pieces of objects (possibly in vacuum or on a ramp) and observing the dynamics of their free-fall?"

PZ, Will you care to answer this simple question?
____________________

I am not here to play childish games Jon.

If you want definitions, just Google it.

I would suggest that you read up on epistemology and metaphysics - in particular, "Philosophy of Mind" dealing with Consciousness, Perception and Reality for starters but I fear it will be a waste of your time.

PZ

Jon said...

PZ wrote "I am not here to play childish games Jon. If you want definitions, just Google it."

I am not playing games with you. I need to know what evidences move you to believe so deeply in Newton's Law, yet remain so skeptical in Prof Jahn's research. Both of them repeated their experiments a large number of times - so what exactly is the difference?


Anyway, here's what I found from Rice university's website when I google.

"Were the principles of Newtonian physics 'proven?' I doubt that the laws of physics have changed since the nineteenth century, and since classical Newtonian physics has been found to be inconsistent with established facts, the theory behind Newton's laws was never proven in the first place." Link

Fox said...

And I asked, "What do you mean by scientifically proven? What else did scientists do except for dropping various pieces of objects (possibly in vacuum or on a ramp) and observing the dynamics of their free-fall?"

Erm, the orbit of satellites around the earth? Their paths are calculated based on classical mechanics which is derived from Newton's law.

The trajectories of the rockets sent up to deliver those satellites are also calculated based on classical mechanics.

In the nonrelativistic regime, stellar motion is computed using classical mechanics. A good part of astrophysics works with classical mechanics.

The list can go on and on.

In contrast, the data from PEAR has not been independently reproduced. None whatsoever. Zilch, nada, zip.

Fox said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fox said...

What many people fail to realize is that attempts to reproduce the same findings from PEAR failed. It's not just the case that there is no independent verification. Others did try and failed.

So, the onus is also on the believers to explain why independent attempts at reproducing the findings failed. You can't just cherrypick the hits and then ignore the misses

PZ said...

Jon,

I don't relish having to backtrack and revisit old ground on account that someone else has misunderstood a previous statement. And having done so, am called upon yet again to repeat the cycle.

Additionally, even after your false analogy had been explained, you stubbornly held your ground.

Frankly, it is rather tiresome and exasperating.

Let's just end the exchange here if you don't mind.

Thank you.

PZ

Jon said...

Fox,

Thank you for your reply. I hope you enjoy this discussion.

I agree with you that there is concern if there is no independent verification of the PEAR results.

Anyway, back to my original question, you wrote that "satellites" and "rockets" are the answers to my question on how Newton's law has been scientifically proven.

Really?

Now, we know that when NASA launched their rockets, they were actually unsure about Newton's law and was trying to "scientifically prove" whether "Newton's Law" was true? I see. :)

My point is that the "satellites" and "rockets" are the applications of Newton's law, and not its proof!

How is that so, you might ask?

Suppose the "rockets" fail to lauch, what can we conclude? Maybe Newton's law was wrong? Maybe the engineer didn't tighten the screws properly? Or maybe, there was a calculation error?

And suppose the "rockets" did lauch successfully, what can we conclude? Again, we can't say anything. For the rocket to launch, this could mean that all the assumptions A1, A2, A3, ... (including Newton's Law) made were correct. However, it could also mean that Newton's Law is wrong, but your model/assumption (such as your assumption about weather - rainfall, tempearture) turn out to be wrong, and they counteract each other nicely.

Therefore, the general "scientific approach" is to perform the simplest possible experiments in the lab (ie, by dropping various objects in vacuum or in a ramp, and observing their dynamics!), and with some randomization thrown into the procedure (to ensure it is uncorrelated with innocuous stuff like "the heat from the nearby cafeteria").

If you accept this as the "scientific approach", then what Prof Jahn has done is essentially the same!

scb said...

I content that a mans' thinking is dictated first by Nature which endows him with the thinking capacity. He will be influenced by his environs, culture and religion(even atheism). Ultimately, irrespective of capacity of the mind, man wishes the best of everything, health, wealth, peace, happiness and love. Does the same wish(thinking) leads to the same fate(result)?

Kelvin Tan said...

Mr Wang,

To a poker player, the idea that if you really want a certain card to appear at the turn or the river, just wish for it and it will come, will make you a losing player in the long run.

PZ said...

Mr Wang wrote:

"Technically, PZ is right."

Errr... *Technically*???

So you maintain your theory still holds even after your arguments in support of it have been demolished?

You assume facts not in evidence, deviously co-opt QM, Jahn, Wolf etc (ostensibly to lend credibility)and present your theory that rests on nothing but a mount of fallacies.

Is it just stubborness, denial or delusional thinking? Or ALL of the above?

PZ

BTH said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
scb said...

As an atheist, i do not subscribe to the existence of gods be they good or bad. However, i do not dispute the existences of god believers and science. Micobes exist whether or not man identifies them and gives it a name. Scientific Principles exist, correctly understood and interpreted or otherwise by man. Religions and their believers are all around me although none can prove the existence of any superbeings. i would even say that i agree very much with Mr Wang that retribution or the so called Karmic Effect maybe immediate. But i do not put it to religious and spiritual causes but rather that retribution is a societal(cultural) system evolved through human understandings. Man make law not just to organise and make humans behave, it is also to punish recalcitrants. This system yields the deed and result effect although some sins can never be penalised using such a system. So, man does wish that those acts beyond the rule of law be punished in other ways and retribution i surmise is stretched into the afterlife. It is this much that i understand and i know i have a lot more to learn. Every man wants the ultimate in life, be it health, wealth, happiness, peace, love and even immortality. The sad thing is; the collective wish(Thought/hope) has not materialise.

BTH said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Interested said...

Science is not without its own assumptions. And a very persistent one is that experimental results obtained previously, will continue to obtain. I don't think you can be a scientist without believing in this.

I may be wrong, but I think a "law" is really only an extrapolation along the lines of "it happened in the past, and will continue to happen today and tomorrow." However, just because a particular experimental result occurred with regularity in the past is not a reason for saying that it will recur in the future. It seems to me that it is logically incorrect to say "because this happened in the past, therefore (all else being equal) it will occur in the future." There is no logical link unless we assume that the rules don't change. And the only thing we have to demonstrate that rules don't change, is that past observation supports that hypothesis. But I think this builds up to a circularity in logic.

Further, our human experience is that laws, even the laws of physics, do "change." That's because laws are human interpretations of observable data. The laws aren't just "there" apart from human consciousness. They are an organising principle for human consciousness to "make sense" of the data. Without the human consciousness to first desire to organise, and then carry out that desire, there wouldn't be such laws.

There are certainly many reasons why scientific laws are extremely persuasive, most significantly, because they have in the past been shown to work for large numbers of people in diverse situations.

I don't deny that it is probably a good idea to accept this assumption of persistence, since in the past it has served us well in making some sense of the world around us, and in allowing us to make plans for the future. But to claim that science is "the answer" without recognising its inherent assumptions is unscientific.

geriatric_eunuch said...

Mr. Wang said:
Jahn's scientific proof and methodology was scrutinised by his critics at Princeton for 28 years in their attempt to close down his lab.

They failed - essentially because they could not find any flaws in his scientific proof and methodology.


Close Encounters Of The PSI Kind:

Mr. Wang was a very young Jedi then. 28 years ago, it was the height of the Cold War and the world's two superpower gangsters glowered at one another across a yawning idealogical gulf while ominously rattling nuclear-tipped swords. "Eh, why you stare at me, want to fight, ah? I hantam you then you know" was the mood of the time and with national survival at stake, neither side dared overlook any weapon or technique, however bizarre, that might give the other the killer advantage.

Thus when the Americans learned that the Russians were trying to train dolphins (big brain, so must have big smarts, went the reasoning) to detect and disable submarines, they oso must copy lah, otherwise if killer dolphins on the other side, then how? Our deterrent subs sure si keow keow. Fortunately for Flipper, he proved more thrilled with fishing than fighting and in later years he and his celebrity pal Willy were Free. Hmm, could be more kiang than we thought.

Naturally the paranormal did not escape the paranoid worries of military intelligence and the CIA, for 'Psychic Spies' would be a wonderfully useful weapon to have in the armoury. No need for pesky hard-to-find microdots, head-scratching code cracking, unreliable vodka-swilling raunchy agents, cranky comms (no Nokia), and general uncertainty (bad for business). What better than to be able to deploy ESP activity, subliminal messages, and Psycho-Kinesis(PK), they wondered? PK could be used to nudge objects at a distance using purely the power of thought to give the Red menace a headache. And they were especially excited by the potential of Remote Viewing (RV), otherwise known as clairvoyance. Didn't Sun Tzu advise if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will win hundred times in hundred battles? What if we know what they know before they realise that they even knew it? Sure menang, man - how to lose? Besides, the other side's probably checking it out so we'd better do so too. Just in case.

So began the quiet military love affair with parapsychology using conventional science. While these highly qualified scientists secretly tittered behind their hands and dismissed enhanced perception as questionable pseudo-science, they were rather less willing to dismiss the fat research grants being waved at them. Cash burn of upwards of $500,000 per annum, according to Professor Jahn. The Stanford Research Institute under a NASA contract in the 70's, experimented with determining the contents of pictures in sealed envelopes and detecting the movements of an experimenter moving around town, via RV. Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research lab (PEAR) looked at PK using quantum-mechanical effects. Results? Nothing to see here, move along please.

As the ice melted and the Iron and Bamboo Curtains parted, so too did the finance for these and other surreal Star Trek projects, culminating in PEAR's closing its doors for good after 28 years. So can we relax, is it all over now? Maybe. A clip from the Chicago Tribune dated August 13, 1977:

"Washington. The CIA financed a project in 1975 to develop a new kind of agent who could truly be called a "spook", CIA Director Stansfield Turner has disclosed.

The CIA chief said that the agency found a man who could "see" what was going on anywhere in the world through his psychic powers.

Turner said CIA scientists and officials would show the man a picture of a place and he would then describe any activity going o there at that time.

The tight-lipped CIA chief wouldn't reveal how accurate the spook was, but said the agency dropped the project in 1975.

"He died," Turner said, "and we haven't heard from him since."


AND PSI TECH, Inc. offers RV services to corporate and government clients, claiming to have spotted Iraqi chemical weapons depots and other naughty goodies, all by ESP of course.

AND a US prof plans to send message back in time using QM effects. Don't miss the comments.

Did the West win the Cold War or is that stupid idea a figment of our imaginations? They must have won, lah, otherwise we would be buying IvanskiPods instead of iPods, right? I rest my case.

1984 said...

geriatric_eunuch

Well said.

Mr Wang Says So said...

LOL. Funny thing is, you people keep tripping up over yourselves, because you are so sure that yur understanding is right. Eg this sarcastic remark:

"Thus when the Americans learned that the Russians were trying to train dolphins (big brain, so must have big smarts, went the reasoning) to detect and disable submarines, they oso must copy lah, otherwise if killer dolphins on the other side, then how? Our deterrent subs sure si keow keow. Fortunately for Flipper, he proved more thrilled with fishing than fighting and in later years he and his celebrity pal Willy were Free. Hmm, could be more kiang than we thought."

Come on, don't be an idiot. Everyone knows that the US Navy *does* use dolphins.

It isn't even an experimental thing. It's used in actual operations, eg in the last two Iraq wars. This is HARDLY the most "classified" secret around.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/03/0328_030328_wardolphins.html

http://www.warshipsifr.com/attack_on_iraq_special1.html

http://www.animalrights.net/archives/year/2003/000115.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/animals/newsid_2888000/2888797.stm (this one even has a nice picture of a US military dolphin and his human colleague)

Etc etc. The point is not the dolphins. The point is that you make any assumptions about reality and already just off the top of your head, I know you're wrong ...

Eg this other sarcastic remark:

"AND a US prof plans to send message back in time using QM effects. Don't miss the comments."

Haiyah ... This is nothing new. World's top physicists, including Nobel-prize winning ones, have been studying retrocausality for quite some time. Eg this extract from Wikipedia:

"Established physics does not generally employ retrocausality. Nevertheless, a number of theories allowing particles or information to travel backward in time have been proposed by respected scientists or have received meaningful evaluation by the scientific community. In general, models that appear to permit retrocausality or time travel are often thought to possess mathematical artifacts or to simply be conceptually flawed.

[edit][diagram][caption to diagram] Historical models
Time runs left to right in this Feynman diagram of electron-positron annihilation. When interpreted to include retrocausality, the electron was not destroyed, instead becoming the positron and moving backward in time.


As the modern understanding of particle physics began to develop, retrocausality was at times employed as a tool to model then-unfamiliar or unusual conditions, including electromagnetism and antimatter.

John Archibald Wheeler and Richard Feynman proposed a theory using retrocausality and a temporal form of destructive interference to explain the absence of a type of converging concentric wave suggested by certain solutions to Maxwell's equations.[15] However, there has been no experimental observation of these "advanced waves", and it has been suggested that they may in fact simply be a different mathematical means to describe normal waves.[16]

Feynman also employed retrocausality to propose a model of the positron[17] by reinterpreting the negative-energy solutions of the Dirac equation. In this model, electrons moving backward in time would appear to possess a positive electric charge. Wheeler invoked this concept to explain the identical properties shared by all electrons, suggesting that "they are all the same electron" with a complex, self-intersecting worldline.[18] Yoichiro Nambu later applied it to all production and annihilation of particle-antiparticle pairs, stating that "the eventual creation and annihilation of pairs that may occur now and then is no creation or annihilation, but only a change of direction of moving particles, from past to future, or from future to past."[19] Although further understanding of antimatter has rendered this model largely obsolete,[20] it is still employed for conceptual purposes, such as in Feynman diagrams."


[edit] Current topics
Open topics in physics, especially involving the reconciliation of gravity with quantum physics, suggest that retrocausality may be possible under certain circumstances.

Closed timelike curves, in which the world line of an object returns to its origin, arise from some exact solutions to the Einstein field equation. Although closed timelike curves do not appear to exist under normal conditions, extreme environments of spacetime, such as a traversable wormhole[21] or the region near certain cosmic strings,[22] may allow their formation, implying a theoretical possibility of retrocausality. The exotic matter or topological defects required for the creation of those environments have not been observed. Furthermore, Stephen Hawking has suggested a mechanism which he described as the chronology protection conjecture that would destroy any such closed timelike curve before it could be used.[23] These objections to the existence of closed timelike curves are not universally accepted, however.[24]

Retrocausality has also been proposed as a mechanism to explain what Albert Einstein called "spooky action at a distance" occurring as a result of quantum entanglement. Although the prevailing scientific viewpoint is that the effects generated by quantum entanglement do not require any direct communication between the involved particles, Costa de Beauregard proposed an alternative theory.[25] At an American Association for the Advancement of Science symposium, University of Washington physicist John Cramer presented the design for an experiment to test for backward causation in quantum entanglement,[3] subsequently receiving some attention from the popular media.[26][27] Although Cramer's experiment has never been performed as of 2006, retrocausality has also been proposed as an explanation[28] for the delayed choice quantum eraser.[29]

The hypothetical superluminal particle called the tachyon, proposed in the context of the Bosonic string theory and certain other fields of high-energy physics, moves backward in time. Despite frequent depiction in science fiction as a method to send messages back in time, theories predicting tachyons do not permit them to interact with normal "time-like" matter in a manner that would violate standard causality. Specifically, the Feinberg reinterpretation principle renders impossible construction of a tachyon detector capable of receiving information.[30]


LOL. I'm sorry, I just find your sarcasm so hilarious, because you keep tripping everywhere and you DON'T even see it.

And before anyone says that retrocausality works only on quantum level, let me tell you that if you do, I'll just have to write a new post about retrocausality in a double-blind scientific experiment, where the subject-matter is on the basis of "everyday existence", not subatomic particles.

BTH said...

Interested said...

"Science is not without its own assumptions. And a very persistent one is that experimental results obtained previously, will continue to obtain. I don't think you can be a scientist without believing in this."

Waah! Your reply soo looong one.

No lah. I did not say DON'T make assumptions. How can be so goondu until like dat. Meaning moi. Not you.

If you had read it in its entirety AND in context, I have said:

Don't make assumptions to reach conclusions without first checking and verifying your assumptions.

If you assume things without first checking and verifying and jump to conclusions, you might fuck-up BIG time.

Clear?

geriatric_eunuch said...

Mr. Wang said:
LOL. I'm sorry, I just find your sarcasm so hilarious, because you keep tripping everywhere and you DON'T even see it.

Er, Mr. W, you may have got hold of the wrong end of the stick. None of my comment was intended to be explicitly or tacitly sarcastic, insofar as I understand the meaning of the word. Believe me, if I HAD intended biting sarcasm, I wouldn't have made such a lame job of it. ;-)

Let me explain. Since so many pro and con views were expressed in this thread about PEAR labs, I thought it reasonable to present a historic perspective on how its rise and subsequent closure came about.

Dolphins were mentioned merely by way of introduction, en passant as it were, and certainly you're perfectly right that their present military use is no mystery. I can well recall an old navy photo proudly showing a trained dolphin attaching a limpet mine to a submarine, which in today's climate would have had animal rights protestors apoplectic with rage. No dark secrets there - and surely none implied. The remainder of the text dealt with the ongoing interest of the authorities in Psi-ops.

Likewise, no sarcasm was intended in linking you to the report about the scientist and his time-shifted message. Frankly, although I shan't be holding my breath, I wish him the best of luck. I didn't go looking but happened to bump into it (RSS feed) and what caught my eye was the tie-up with QM, a hot topic on your many posts on mindhacking. It struck me as curious that while we are discussing the subject on your blog, Europeans are similarly engaged. Their comments roughly reflect the diversity of opinions you see here - some incredulous, some mocking, some technical, some for, and others against. Some rush to call the guy a nutter, others aren't so sure at all and would prefer to give him a chance to prove himself.

Hope I've cleared up any misunderstanding?

Cheers,

G_E

Interested said...

bth said this: "Note to self: "Assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups!" Never assume anything. Check and verify!"

You now say you meant: "Don't make assumptions to reach conclusions without first checking and verifying your assumptions.

If you assume things without first checking and verifying and jump to conclusions, you might fuck-up BIG time."

I did not misread you the first time. But your explanation, and your original statement are simply illogical.

You cannot check and verify an assumption. That's why it is an assumption. The result of checking and verifying, is to discover whether one has made any hidden assumptions.

My post was simply to point out that science is predicated on an assumption of persistence. And that assumption is not capable of being checked or verified.

I apologise if I seem to be long-winded. But these are not easy ideas to compress into a few choice sentences. I think what you really meant to say is that one should avoid making hidden assumptions which would be made explicit if one were to do some checking and verification. I agree.

Brevity may be the soul of wit. But it also leads to error.

BTH said...

Interested said...

"I did not misread you the first time. But your explanation, and your original statement are simply illogical."

You are right! Wah you so terror one!

My explanation should have read check and verify the FACTS not ASSUMPTIONS.

Mea Culpa.

It's actually meant as a slogan so have to be short and sweet. Otherwise not shiok right?

Consider -

"Assumption( if you jump to conclusion without checking and verifying your facts)is the mother of all fuck-ups!

Like dat very clear but not catchy lah!