Dr. Dean Radin, chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, earned a masters degree in Electrical Engineering (magna cum laude) and a PhD in psychology, spent a decade working on advanced projects for Bell Labs and GTE Labs, is the author or co-author of more than 250 scientific, technical, and popular articles, several best selling books and more than 100 articles in peer-reviewed academic journals. He is considered one of the world’s premier scientific investigators of psychic abilities. For more information on Radin and his work, see his website.
Second of 4 Parts. Click to see the entire series
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Dean Radin: When people think about psychic phenomena, they think about a huge range of possibilities. Everything from levitation, to invisibility, to passing through walls, to “The X Files” and everything else. From a scientific perspective, we can’t pay attention to everything because most of it is not testable. For example, a lot of people are interested in spontaneous human combustion, and make some kind of weird link between that and psychic phenomena. Well, there’s some interesting cases but they’re all by definition spontaneous, and so they can’t be studied very well. What parapsychologists had tried to do is take some aspects of psychic phenomena, and formalize them so that they can be studied in the laboratory. And we use the same methods that are used in other scientific disciplines. So the four categories that have been studied repeatedly for about a century now are telepathy, or mind-to-mind interaction, clairvoyance, where you get information from a distance or information which is hidden in some way, precognition, where you’re getting information from the future, retrocognition, getting information from the past. And the fourth category of mind-matter interaction. That last category is not spoon bending, but looking at what we call micro PK, micro psychokinetic influence, usually statistical variations in physical systems, which means we can’t use a rock as a target because it’s hard to measure statistical changes. Instead, we use things like electronic noise and coin flipping and dice tossing that sort of thing. So in those four categories we have an enormous amount of data, and the bottom line is that we know for each one of those four types that the phenomena are real. And they’re real not because we believe that they’re real, but because by using the same standards applied in other scientific disciplines in which the essence of reality for science is, is it repeatable by independent investigators over a long period of time? And the answer on all four accounts is yes.
George Knapp: And yet it seems like if you were to say, what is the attitude of mainstream science about this? That it would be a negative attitude. You look at your, I mean, maybe the public statement about that?
Radin: Yeah, there is a difference between what scientists are privately ready to admit and what they can publicly admit. And I guess from the general public’s point of view, science looks monolithic. There’s, you know, there’s the journal Science, and that’s science. But of course that’s not the case at all. Scientists are human and they have emotions, and they will say things in private that they won’t say in public. And in the psychic phenomena in particular, there are many highly placed people, both in science and in government, who will privately admit all sorts of strange things, including the reality of psychic phenomena.
Knapp: You’ve worked for a lot of these people.
Radin: Yes, I have. And I know that it’s extremely frustrating, from my perspective, to work with people who privately both have had their own experiences, which is why they believe it, and also know the nature of the data. And they believe the data as well. And even worse, they’re using this stuff. They’re using it for applications. And yet they won’t, they won’t publicly admit it.
Knapp: Like the military.
Radin: Well, there you can make a case that if you had a secret weapon, and the weapon was controversial in science, you would do everything that you could to suppress the fact that there was any merit to it. Why? Because it raises the value of the weapon. You see? So in this case, I believe that a lot of the … I don’t know, I suspect that some of the reason why there’s been such a strong skeptical push in public has been a strategy. It’s been a strategy to allow research to continue at certain levels, so that the value of what we knew was that much more effective.