SEPTEMBER 1999 Issue 1

Will science accept psi?

Science is doing something dangerous. It’s getting popular. Ordinary people are beginning to understand how bmagconsciousness is formed, how the cosmos was born, how atoms work, how life evolves. Science is becoming an intelligent form of entertainment, like art and literature. For decades there have been clever explainers, of course, like Bertrand Russell and CEM Joad, who took single ideas and translated them into plain English – but they liked to hint that their explanations were only the iceberg’s tip, and a huge, mysterious mass of science floated beneath the surface, invisible to all but Proper Scientists.

As the new Millennium dawns, the top-rated explainer is American biologist Edward Wilson, who believes all sciences are interwoven. He takes the iceberg and lifts it wholly out of the water. At Oxford, there is a Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, Richard Dawkins. Every university on the planet is online, its lectures and libraries available to all. The Seventies revolution in current affairs, which plugged the whole planet into daily news bulletins and images, is being repeated with science. Everyone on Earth got to hear about Monica Lewinsky – soon, everyone will know about Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle and the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

And at that point, everyone will have to accept that psychic powers are real.

The science establishment, even as it promotes universal understanding, is fighting fiercely against the evidence for psi. Prof Dawkins, for instance, in his latest book, invents a TV celebrity who claims to halt watches with the power of his mind. It’s not me, of course. Just any old clock-stopping super-psychic. Dawkins presents an impressive array of statistics, calculating the number of people watching the show, the number of watches they own, the number of watches that spontaneously break in the course of any hour of the year, and the number that will coincidentally cease ticking during the psychic’s TV show. Dawkins puts it at six.

In his enthusiasm to explain the mathematics of coincidence, the professor accidentally skates over two facts. Firstly, I mend watches, not break them. How welcome would I be on your TV screen if I claimed to possess the power to psychically smash one of your most valued possessions?

beyond2Secondly, a good show will get more than six results – say, 2,000. Or more, perhaps, because the studio switchboards are often overloaded to collapse.

The scientific establishment can no longer keep these facts quiet. Newspapers discuss the paranormal, in heavyweight features by famous philosophers and archaeologists, every week. Radio shows quiz serious scientists every morning. America’s airwaves buzz every night of the week to a psychic investigator who knows no limits, Art Bell. And most powerful of all, the internet gives a loud voice to every aspect of the paranormal. The UFOlogists, alien abductees, ghost-hunters, chupacabra-chasers, circle-watchers, cryptozoologists, spiritualists, levitators, spoon-benders and remote viewers, who huddled in lonely pockets a decade ago, are now proud members of virtual communities spread around the globe. Even trad science is swept along – Californian psychology professor Charles Tart has set up a database of scientists’ psi experiences, TASTE, where they can record their mind-blowing encounters with other realities in an anonymous forum.

When I was tested in the early Seventies, at Stanford Research Institute, at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, at the University of California and at the Cavendish Laboratories, Cambridge, the establishment still ruled. The open-minded men who investigated me used fraudproof checks and stringent measures. They were ridiculed and dismissed by scientists who had never come within ten miles of our experiments. The situation had not changed in a century – the great scientist Sir William Crookes, who investigated the medium Daniel Dunglas Home in 1874, was almost driven to ruin by the mockery of his peers.

In 1999, the world is radically changed. We have gone Beyond mockery. Beyond blindness. Beyond Denial. Beyond Lies. Look out science – ready or not, here comes para-science.



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