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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Paranormal Phenomena and Science - Can it be proved?

Could paranormal phenomena be proven - through science?

From: Earth Sky Blog

Could paranormal phenomena be proven - through science?
Dr. Dean Radin believes so. He’s devoted his scientific career to investigating common human experiences that seem to transcend ordinary science. Radin works in a field of human psychology called parapsychology - the study of ostensibly paranormal psychological phenomena.
It’s not as strange as it sounds. Radin doesn’t stalk around haunted houses, he works out of a lab in Northern California, called the Institute of Noetic Sciences. Radin and his colleagues ask common questions - Does prayer heal? Why does the placebo effect work? - and then put them under the lens of modern science. Radin says he’s constantly surprised at the results.
I spoke with Radin about his research, and he explained, in depth, what parapsychology is really about:
There are many aspects of human experience that psychology has studied. But there are many that are overlooked. Unfortunately, those very experiences that have been overlooked have fascinated people throughout history. And these include things like the feeling of being stared out under conditions where you don’t get any without any sensory cues. First of all, is that true? And second of all, if it is true, what are they feeling? What are they picking up? And slightly less mundane, the phone rings and you instantly know who it is without using caller ID. Well, how did you know that? Is it some kind of coincidence or do we have some ways of knowing things that did not come through the senses. And pushing it out even further, you have cases of what’s called crisis telepathy. Where you may have a married couple or mother and child where one of them gets in danger, and they’re distant, and yet the other person somehow knows. These kinds of stories show up again and again.

And then other cases, people have a dream and wake up and the events in the dreams unfold, as they experienced it - a precognitive dream.

Another class is related to intention - these are mind-matter interaction events - where someone’s strong intention for something to occur does in fact occur.

Of course, from a scientific perspective, the goal in these experiences is to tell whether or not they’re a coincidence, or maybe they’re psychological illusions, or tricks of memory. What parapsychology has done for the past century or so is to systematically look at experiences and try to account for them by ordinary means, or whether there’s something else going on.

To make a very long story short, the consensus now is that there’s something else going on that’s not accounted for by any of a dozen psychological explanations or coincidence. It presents what amounts to an anomaly. There’s an information or communication anomaly that is begging to be understood.”
For more about Dean Radin and his research, visit his blog at, and read this 1996 New York Times Magazine article about him.

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