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89. “God Helmet” Inventor, Dr. Michael Persinger Discovers Telepathic Link in Lab Exp

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  • 89. “God Helmet” Inventor, Dr. Michael Persinger Discovers Telepathic Link in Lab Exp

    Neuroscience Researcher and Laurentian University professor, Dr. Michael Persinger, demonstrates telepathy under laboratory conditions.

    Claims of telepathy, ESP and other psi phenomena are a mainstay of ...

    Click here to read more ...

  • #2
    This podcast was extremely interesting for two reasons.

    First, Dr. Michael Persinger claims to have an easily replicable demonstration of ESP. Does he have any published papers on this subject?

    Secondly, the guy seems to be walking a strange intellectual tightrope - I almost suspect it is his cynical technique to be able to study psi phenomena and still get funding and avoid being dismissed as a crank!

    From the description of his new experiment, he has not demonstrated quantum entanglement between brains - that is just his proposed explanation for his results - but he has demonstrated information transfer between brains by unknown means.

    Alex, I do rather wish you had spent more time discussing this new experiment, and less time on his overall philosophy - which may be just a clever way of avoiding the usual taboo against PSI results.

    David

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by David Bailey View Post
      This podcast was extremely interesting for two reasons.

      First, Dr. Michael Persinger claims to have an easily replicable demonstration of ESP. Does he have any published papers on this subject?

      Secondly, the guy seems to be walking a strange intellectual tightrope - I almost suspect it is his cynical technique to be able to study psi phenomena and still get funding and avoid being dismissed as a crank!

      From the description of his new experiment, he has not demonstrated quantum entanglement between brains - that is just his proposed explanation for his results - but he has demonstrated information transfer between brains by unknown means.

      Alex, I do rather wish you had spent more time discussing this new experiment, and less time on his overall philosophy - which may be just a clever way of avoiding the usual taboo against PSI results.

      David
      Persinger seems like an interesting, hard working scientist... not a game player.

      I was surprised when the telepathy experiment came up... it was late in the interview... we were almost out of time. I hope others follow-up.

      Comment


      • #4
        I always wonder just how safe "Transcranial magnetic stimulation" (which seems to be what he uses in his experiments) is. Does anyone here know just how it has been tested for safety?

        David

        Comment


        • #5
          More people need to know about Skeptiko .... they don't know what they are missing

          Shame the interview wasn't twice as long to fit everything in, listening to Persinger was interesting.

          I think this is good interview for die-hard skeptics to hear who assume that scientists who find evidence of psi just want to desperately believe in survival or religion ..... not the case with Persinger here ....which is actually a common stance throughout the history of research ....

          1870s - Nobel Laureate Charles Richet investigated telepathists and later mediums claiming survival .... .... Richet claimed psychic phenomena was proven beyond doubt in both cases .... . but viewed the survival hypothesis as unlikely to be correct interpretation.

          1890s – William James investigated medium Leonora Piper who claimed survival ... James accepted the psychic phenomena was occurring but didn't favour a survival explanation.

          1940s – JB Rhine started out looking for talented people with psychic abilities ... he found ESP ... he or his fellow experimenters tested esteemed mediums like Eileen Garrett (who believed in survival) .... but Rhine took a non-survival interpretation.

          etc.
          etc.

          Michael Persinger accepts that Ingo Swann (who believes consciousness is more than a brain function) has psychic abilities under test.... but Persinger seems to believe consciousness and mind is purely a brain function.

          Clearer when psi is finally accepted by science ... this long running sub-debate (the super-psi hypothesis) will replace it.

          Is it more than a brain function? I think so.

          Having said that ..... I enjoyed listening to Michael Persinger's viewpoint, perhaps he can come back on Skeptiko again in future.
          Last edited by Open Mind; December 16th, 2009, 10:18 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Some comments, in order in interview ....

            (1) Persinger points that mystical experience may have some adaptive evolutionary survival advantage to humans.

            As long as he isn't arguing this is a inherited characteristic .... that would make no sense whatsoever ..... materialists speculating the brain evolved a *near death experience* for a minute or two before likely oblivion is nonsensical ... I do not see females more keen to mate old, wounded or ill males just because they had a NDE To be more serious ....

            Has anyone taken Near Death Experiencers and asked them to try Persingers helmet that stimulates the temporal lobes? I bet the helmet experiences compared to the near death experiences would be subtle in comparison ...if so ... why should that be?

            (2) Persinger suggested (I think) the brain keeps short term memory for about 30 minutes and gradually (?) enters deeper long term memory which cannot be measured .... therefore why even presume long term memory is definitely in the brain, if it can't be measured or specifically located ... brain damage could just be damaging a tuning mechanism

            Also if the brain is merely a transceiver, interface filtering consciousness ..... the consciousness being filtered via the short term memory would be hardly surprising IMHO

            (3) Persinger suggests that the NDE experiences are being consolidated into the long term memory .. how can that occur during a Near Death Experience? It is well known that short term memory is easily damaged and often lost after concussion, accidents, etc .... . how can long term memory even be established during a brief NDE?

            (4) Persinger said that during the night there are times when we are not dreaming ... i.e. have no meaningful consciousness ... this is not proven, even during non-REM sleep ......it could just mean whatever we are 'conscious' of is simply not recalled as it requires memory to recall.

            Now even if elements during non-REM sleep are recalled during REM sleep ...... the fact remains we generally can't remember everything about the dream upon waking and dream recall fades very quickly after waking .... so this still doesn't explain the Near Death Experience.

            Having said all of that .....it sounds like Michael Persinger is very open to alternate hypotheses that view the brain as more of a filter/tranceiever and these deserves equal consideration.... cool

            But there is one thing I DEFINITELY disagree with Persinger on ..... working to 4am
            Last edited by Open Mind; December 16th, 2009, 11:34 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Open Mind View Post
              Some comments, in order in interview ....

              (1) Persinger points that mystical experience may have some adaptive evolutionary survival advantage to humans.

              As long as he isn't arguing this is a inherited characteristic .... that would make no sense whatsoever ..... materialists speculating the brain evolved a *near death experience* for a minute or two before likely oblivion is nonsensical ... I do not see females more keen to mate old, wounded or ill males just because they had a NDE To be more serious ....

              Has anyone taken Near Death Experiencers and asked them to try Persingers helmet that stimulates the temporal lobes? I bet the helmet experiences compared to the near death experiences would be subtle in comparison ...if so ... why should that be?

              (2) Persinger suggested (I think) the brain keeps short term memory for about 30 minutes and gradually (?) enters deeper long term memory which cannot be measured .... therefore why even presume long term memory is definitely in the brain, if it can't be measured or specifically located ... brain damage could just be damaging a tuning mechanism

              Also if the brain is merely a transceiver, interface filtering consciousness ..... the consciousness being filtered via the short term memory would be hardly surprising IMHO

              (3) Persinger suggests that the NDE experiences are being consolidated into the long term memory .. how can that occur during a Near Death Experience? It is well known that short term memory is easily damaged and often lost after concussion, accidents, etc .... . how can long term memory even be established during a brief NDE?

              (4) Persinger said that during the night there are times when we are not dreaming ... i.e. have no meaningful consciousness ... this is not proven, even during non-REM sleep ......it could just mean whatever we are 'conscious' of is simply not recalled as it requires memory to recall.

              Now even if elements during non-REM sleep are recalled during REM sleep ...... the fact remains we generally can't remember everything about the dream upon waking and dream recall fades very quickly after waking .... so this still doesn't explain the Near Death Experience.

              Having said all of that .....it sounds like Michael Persinger is very open to alternate hypotheses that view the brain as more of a filter/tranceiever and these deserves equal consideration.... cool

              But there is one thing I DEFINITELY disagree with Persinger on ..... working to 4am
              All of your observations regarding Persinger - combined with the fact that he is obviously a bright guy - gave me the impression that he was just avoiding dumping himself in deep, grant-sapping waters! Did you also noticed that he never justified his assertion that all consciousness is produced inside the head - he just produced it as an axiom! Towards the end, he did weaken that idea slightly be proposing that consciousness could reside inside a suitably complex electromagnetic field, or inside a computer, but I guess we have flogged ideas like that to death here already

              David

              Comment


              • #8
                David, you could be right .... Persinger is highly respected by psi proponents and psi skeptics .... I mean the reasonable ones (not the closed minded type who attack the claim first, seldom research later) ... his work is just as likely to be quoted by both groups...... it is a nice position to hold.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Open Mind View Post
                  I think this is good interview for die-hard skeptics to hear who assume that scientists who find evidence of psi just want to desperately believe in survival or religion ..... not the case with Persinger here
                  yea... I tend to think that die-hard Skepitcs are playing a different game -- preserve worldview at all costs. I worry that most scienceists assume what you're saying.

                  Michael Persinger accepts that Ingo Swann (who believes consciousness is more than a brain function) has psychic abilities under test.... but Persinger seems to believe consciousness and mind is purely a brain function.

                  Clearer when psi is finally accepted by science ... this long running sub-debate (the super-psi hypothesis) will replace it.

                  Is it more than a brain function? I think so.
                  yea, I found his position a little curious, but strangely refreshing... here's someone who's willing to look at the data that most want to ignore... and yet he's coming up with a different conclusion.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by OC68
                    Another fascinating interview. I only wish it had been longer. Still, a half hour of Skeptiko is more rewarding than two hours of some other show.
                    thanks he was in his lab and pressed for time... was actually interpreted by students a couple of times.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Open Mind View Post
                      David, you could be right .... Persinger is highly respected by psi proponents and psi skeptics .... I mean the reasonable ones (not the closed minded type who attack the claim first, seldom research later) ... his work is just as likely to be quoted by both groups...... it is a nice position to hold.
                      I got the sense that he feels a little misunderstood... I think the God Helmet thing brought him some of that.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by alextsakiris View Post
                        Neuroscience Researcher and Laurentian University professor, Dr. Michael Persinger, demonstrates telepathy under laboratory conditions.

                        Claims of telepathy, ESP and other psi phenomena are a mainstay of ...

                        Click here to read more ...
                        I always thought that the standard scientific view as to whether a person’s conscious awareness was online and able to perceive through the senses and accrue memories could be determined by the eeg. Persinger seems to be saying that the eeg only picks up the outer part of the brain and that there are deeper levels that could still be functioning which account for the nde experiences. Is this speculation? Why doesn’t this come up in most of the debates as an explanation for the nde phenomenon?
                        Thanks
                        Larry

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by larry4444 View Post
                          I always thought that the standard scientific view as to whether a person’s conscious awareness was online and able to perceive through the senses and accrue memories could be determined by the eeg. Persinger seems to be saying that the eeg only picks up the outer part of the brain and that there are deeper levels that could still be functioning which account for the nde experiences. Is this speculation? Why doesn’t this come up in most of the debates as an explanation for the nde phenomenon?
                          Thanks
                          Larry
                          It actually does come up quite a bit. It seems like a ridiculous argument, but it's one of those things that Skeptics have latched onto and seem to repeat without fully thinking it through.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by alextsakiris View Post
                            It actually does come up quite a bit. It seems like a ridiculous argument, but it's one of those things that Skeptics have latched onto and seem to repeat without fully thinking it through.
                            When you think it through, what conclusion do you arrive at?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              When I announced my hiatus, I mentioned I would continue listening to the podcast and reserved the right to chime in if something interesting popped up.

                              This was the best show in a long time. Dr. Persinger struck a fine balance of scientific skepticism and what I'd call childhood wonder.

                              I appreciated the fact that Dr. Persinger had no qualms about investigating science "on the edge", but tended to view that science through the lens of known physical laws, experiment and replication.

                              Listening to the transcript, Alex was respectful but still, well, Alex. Scanning the transcript reveals a lot about Alex:

                              "But I’ve heard that argument before from materialists and I just - I don’t get it...I’m still not getting that...I just don’t see where anyone has demonstrated…But wait a minute. I’m still not making the connection..."

                              But, on balance, a good interview of someone actually doing science "on the edge"...and not "over the edge".

                              Good job!!!

                              Comment

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