Bo Kindstrand linked me to this very interesting (pdf~1.3megs) article by Paul H. Smith that points out all the flaws with the way the Ministry of Defense undertook the experiments, and why they got such poor results. It is a failry in depth article, and is very interesting. A “must read” as Bo put it, for sure.

-Hatter

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Well, after Ben posted that comment about the excact definition of “near guess” and how important it really was to the relevancy of the results, I went digging on the Ministry of Defense’s website. Since it was a study from 2001 and 2002, it has since been declassified. You can view the results of the 18 remote viewing sessions here in part one and part two. (They are fairly large~about 4 megs~ and in pdf format.) The Ministry of Defense has this nasty habit of blacking out a lot of the pictures, so only four of the targets are left in those files. They do however have examples of what good responses for that target would have been. This makes it a little harder to tell how close they were.

They have all the details of the 18 cases, which are very interesting to read, but its also takes some time. I’ll hit the highlights:

There was one instance of electromagnetic phenomena. This has been a supposed side effect of a lot of psioinic abilities, but the study discounts this one instance for these reasons:

  1. It was windy outside, and metal objects could have been blowing by.
  2. Power was lost during one of the sessions, making the stability of the current in the building questionable.
  3. The fact that it only happened once.

This same subject had some success as defined by their standards. I’m going to have to say that this is an interesting event, but not really evidence for anything.

Upon reading the documentation of these tests, it has become very clear to me that the numbers in the article from the BBC was very misleading.

The 28% number was the amount of subjects who “may have accessed the target in some way” as opposed to how it was presented before in the article, as a close guess. When you look at the trials, the subjects can produce as many as guesses as desired. This puts the results within the realm of chance, so the subjects might have just been lucky.

There were no results that were deemed remote viewing without a doubt by the Ministry. I agree with them.

Conclusion:

These results were really hyped up by the BBC article, and upon further examination, it makes a lot of sense why the Ministry decided not to continue tests. The lack of conclusive evidence shows that well, nothing supporting remove viewing really occurred. I suppose this has been a lesson in getting all of the relevant information before reaching conclusions. The fact that these people failed to produce good results does not however, disprove anything. So I will continue to look for “conclusive” proof.

A thanks to Ben for prodding me to check out my facts a little more.

-Hatter

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I caught this story about how the UK ministry of defense conducted remote viewing experiments in 2002 over at Mind-Energy. The story is about how the UK ministry of defense drafted several “amateur psychics” for a test in remote viewing.

  1. They tried to get advertised psychics but none of them accepted.
  2. The test involved a small object of picture in an envelope that the viewer had to describe while blindfolded.
  3. 28% of the volunteers were able to produce near guesses to what was in the envelope.
  4. The others failed, some rather miserably, like the guy who fell asleep.
  5. The Ministry of Defense decided it was not worth further experiments and ceased testing.

My take on this:

  1. I’d say that none of the advertising psychics accepting throws much doubt on their abilities. Of course, most of the advertised psychics have been proven fake thus far anyways, so that’s nothing new.
  2. Not much to say here, this is a fairly typical test.
  3. I’d say that the 28% figure is astounding. The fact that 28% of a group of amateurs were able to get near guesses would be astounding to me as a researcher. The probability of that happening must be much lower then 28%.
  4. I’d say this is to be expected, as they took whoever applied. If you took a group of people who all claimed to be able to paint, you’re going to get some good painters and some bad ones. It’s just a shotgun selection method.
  5. If they wanted to use remote viewing for national defense, then they should have tested a larger number of people and then continued the tests until they narrowed it down to the most often successful viewers. That makes sense to me. Then of course, perhaps that’s what they’re doing. No country likes to admit it’s using psychics. Especially if its espionage related.

It’s good to see that psychic research is still going on, even if this story is from 2002. I still wonder how much research the Soviet Union did into this subject. I’ve seen many reports that supposedly come from the Union about tests. I’ll try and find some for a later post, but they were long and detailed.

Interesting stuff,

Hatter

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EXTRA! EXTRA!
Small group of paranormal researchers prove existence of “psi” energy

Or at least that’s what I imagine the headline would be… A major advance has been made, one that may even be enough to “prove” that psi or something like it exists.

I point you to this post on Peebrain’s (founder of PsiPog) blog. I believe this may be the first advancement on the path of finally making it a legitimate science. For those of you too lazy to read his post, it effectively says that he and some other major community members of PsiPog made a significant change in a Geiger counter. Now, I think that there are two possible ways that the Geiger counter was effected:

1: (The more likely way in my mind, but no less revolutionary) : The psi effected the circuits within Geiger counter causing the results to change.

2: (Probably not as likely, but who knows) : The psi caused/is composed of radiation which was picked up by the Geiger counter.

I think #1 is probably what happened, and would fit what has also been tested by other people. Many other people have been able to mentally effect electronic devices like clocks, but so far none has been able to effect such a dramatic effect in an otherwise stable instrument. Number two has many interesting thoughts with it, such as could many people concentrate on the same place to cause a radioactive area? Imagine the military’s interest…

Oh, and for those of you who are wondering about the incongruity between this post and my last one, I noticed that I generally have some down time at work, so perhaps I will keep posting. At any rate, I felt this was important enough to risk it.

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