Head Light: Taking the Psychology Out of Parapsychology
2012 12 17

By Paul Devereux | DailyGrail.com



The existence or otherwise of psi, ESP or whatever you want to call it, is one of those key controversies at the centre of the great consciousness debate concerning whether mind somehow exists beyond the confines of the brain. Hardened materialists say such a notion is nonsense, that psi phenomena such as telepathy simply do not exist and that parapsychology is a sham.

A classic example of this attitude is pinpointed in David Metcalfe’s Psi News 4 here on RS where he links to an Alex Tsakiris interview with arch-sceptic Victor Stenger, author of the recent God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion. In the interview, Stenger manages to call parapsychologists charlatans, even including venerable researchers like Stanley Krippner in that charge. Apart from displaying such gall, "New Atheist" Stenger goes on to effectively equate psi research with beliefs about god and religion - something the likes of Richard Dawkins is guilty of too. But this linkage is false, a non-sequitur: the existence of psi phenomena does not necessarily need there to be a god.

This inappropriate free-association of ideas is typical of the muddled thinking in this whole area - even among some non-sceptics. But the nub of the matter remains - are critics like Stenger correct in their dismissal of psi? Well, this bleak midwinter I bring you the glad tidings that ongoing, remarkable experimental evidence not only indicates such scepticism to be misplaced, but that the whole nature of the debate is about to be superseded.

Parapsychology generally provides its evidence in the form of statistics, and so is all too readily subject to the charge of "lies, damned lies and statistics" - how reliable is monitoring lots of subjective responses to laboratory tests, and why isn’t psi robustly repeatable in experimental conditions? When it comes to actual, real-life psi experiences - telepathic or precognitive events, apparitions and so forth - critics tend to level accusations of misperception or dishonesty against the claimants, and point out that in any case such reports are merely anecdotal, and not acceptable as scientific evidence. Mainstream scientists demand "hard" evidence (whether or not their idea of that is applicable to the mercurial nature of psi phenomena). But now, research by the redoubtable Michael Persinger, with Blake Dotta and their team at Laurentian University, Ontario, makes it look as if the hard-nosed sceptics can at last be confronted on their own ground. To do so, the Laurentian researchers have taken a different track to standard parapsychology - and it is all to do with light.

Persinger is famous (or infamous) for his so-called "God helmet", a helmet that holds electrodes in place on the wearer’s temples that generate programmed patterns of weak magnetic fields which massage the temporal cortex producing sensations of unseen "presences" and other strange perceptions. (In fact, Persinger had developed this procedure to explore the neurological use of magnetism in therapy in place of pharmaceutical products.) But on the heels of this device, he and his co-workers developed a further instrument, nicknamed "the octopus" on account of all the wires involved. More properly known as a circumcerebral magnetic stimulation (CMS) device, this basically is comprised of solenoids (coils) set at intervals on a headband fitted around a person’s cranium. The solenoids are controlled by a computer program that enables them to rotate precisely configured weak magnetic pulses around the head. This magnetic stimulation can affect the brain in certain ways, including partially disrupting the 40 Hz so-called "binding factor" of the brain which normally seems to help pull all our sensory inputs together into a smooth, seamless perception of the world. Put in non-technical language, this disruption allows normally curtailed or masked information from "Mind-at-Large" to reach awareness. Some of this information can seemingly possess psi properties, whatever they turn out to be.

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Tune into Red Ice Radio:

Carol de la Herran - Robert Monroe & Altered States of Consciousness

Bob Frissell - Hour 1 - Transitioning Into The 4th Dimension

Nassim Haramein - The Schwarzschild Proton

Peter Russell - The Primacy of Consciousness

Anthony Peake - Hour 1 - The Nature of Reality & Twilight Zones of Consciousness

Anthony Peake & Tom Campbell - Consciousness Creates Reality

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