RPKP Update No.2
May 20th, 1996
This was originally sent out to members of the RPKP mailing list. If
you would like to receive future updates, please e-mail
Alas, still no experiments. While we have a very good idea of the content,
the form is still being debated. Some have suggested that "Shockwave" would
be more appropriate than Java, but we know nothing, as yet, about Shockwave.
Also, Helmut Schmidt has pointed out that in many cases, subjects should
perform better when they're strictly off-line - experiments run in the
WWW environment may possibly be less successful, as subjects are (at least
subconsciously) aware of the accumulating cost of their connection time,
and this may disrupt psi abilities. Obviously not all potential subjects
will be paying for their connection time, as a large sector of WWW users
aren't, but in any case it seems sensible to set up offline experiments.
The disadvantage is that these aren't as user-friendly, and involve
downloading and running programs, which is perhaps beyond some "click,
click,click"-style Websurfers. The obvious advantage would be that if the
programs (originally written in C++, modelled on some of Schmidt's own)
were compiled for DOS and MAC, then virtually almost noone on the Internet
would be excluded from participation. The most sensible thing at this
stage seems to be to include both online and offline options.
Bill Tschumy of Otherwise in Austin, TX who volunteered to write our
initial Java applet has had to
withdraw his offer due to unforeseen circumstances, so if there's anyone out
there who specialises in Java, Shockwave, or the general field of "programming
for the Internet", PLEASE get in touch as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, the C++ source code is still on its way
from Schmidt, so we'll just have to wait. At present we have
compiled binaries of the C++ programs which will run in DOS, so if
any potential subjects would like to start practicing, please
e-mail and we'll arrange to send them to you. These will basically
be in the same form as the experiments we'll be eventually be running,
but we won't be able to monitor the results.
Edwin May, whose interview with the RPKProject appeared at our Website
this week, has been consulted regarding the inclusion of tests for
his "decision augmentation theory" (DAT). This theory has attracted
quite some interest since the posting of this interview, as it presents
an entirely precognition-based model of psi phenomena, and can supposedly
with a statistical analysis of a sufficiently large database. If our
experiments are properly designed, we will be able to contribute to
this ever-expanding database. The RPKProject is still absorbing the
implications of DAT, and is neither seeking to "prove" or "disprove"
its validity. Similarly we neither "believe" nor "disbelieve" in the
existence of psi, but merely wish to make the testing of such claims
more publically accessible.
More articles and links are being added to the site every day, as you
may have noticed. We've added a section devoted to Brian Josephson, who
may well be the most "high profile" physicist defending the validity of
experimental PK results. Prof. Josephson won a Nobel Prize for physics
in '73, and is gradually developing a "Mind-matter unification theory",
which is related to similar theories emerging from Penrose & Hameroff,
Stapp, Nanopoulos, et. al. Articles he has written for The Times
have been linked, as well as a fascinating article on "Biological
Utilisation of Quantum Nonlocality". The latter deals with the
possibility that life may distinguish itself from other matter via
some form of self-organisation which results from exploitation of
certain quantum mechanical effects. He also makes the very interesting
point that (rephrased in very simple terms) "randomness" is relative
to what one is looking for - the concept of "meaning" must be introduced
into the picture. As he (quite seriously) observes:
"...the activities of living organisms are governed by predominant
principles (survival, and optimality of the conditions of life) different
to those of the scientist (conformity to certain restrictions that
are considered necessary for "good" science)."
Although it may not appear so at first, this work is very closely related
to retroPK-type phenomenon. Brian Josephson has recently acknowledged
the "increasing importance" of parapsychology, and added new links to his
The most outspoken proponent of Josephson-type mind-matter theories on
the WWW may well be the controversial American "theatrical physicist"
Jack Sarfatti. Sarfatti has pulled together certain bits of theory
including Chalmers "qualia", Bohm's 1952 "pilot wave" interpretation
of quantum mechanics, certain ideas about microtubles (tiny brain
structures) and large protein molecules existing in quantum superimposed
states due to "thermal shielding", in order to model the "mind" as
a "pilot wave" subject to a kind of feedback (which allows adaptation
and learning, it seems) which he calls "back-action". Sarfatti argues
that Josephson, Penrose, Nanopolous, Stapp, et.al. are all using something
like his "back-action". Futher, he believes that the data May reported
in his recent interview provides confirmation of this theory, as it
predicts that the primary anomalous effect associated with the "manipulation of
random data" should be precognitive. Sarfatti is very enthusiastic
about the fact that his model allows information to flow backwards from the
future. Sarfatti, May, Josephson, and others were all in attendance at
the recent Tucson II conference on consciousness, where these ideas were
debated (debate continues in the appropriate regions of the Web). We
hope to add a Tucson II section to the RPKP Website very soon, as many
ideas presented there are extremely important to our work.
An article "What is back-reaction?" (sic), originally from the QUANTUM-D
group, has been linked from our site, and covers most of these topics
It's been suggested that we should first submit our experimental design
to a high-profile sceptical statistician before running the experiments.
This saves us having to defend the design against sceptical attack if
we start getting results. Persi Diaconis, the Harvard professor of
statistics, and member of CSICOP, seems to be the obvious candidate.
Unfortunately, he doesn't have an e-mail address (sceptical of the Internet?),
so if anyone has any suggestions of other possibilities, do let us know.
- Complete versions of two of Schmidt's important papers "PK effect on pre-recorded targets" (1976),
and "Can an effect precede its cause?" (1977) should appear in a few days (currently only abstracts are available).
- We hope to have an interview with Dean Radin of the Consciousness Research
Laboratories in Las Vegas up within a few days.
- Visits to the RPKP Website are now averaging just under 100 per day (for what
- Last week we proposed the creation of a discussion group on the implications
of psi for the philosophy of probability and statistics. A couple of people
have joined already, and discussion is in very early stages, so if you're
interested, just e-mail.
- Still no sign of funding...
- If anyone knows anything about the "Psychoid Theory" (?) being developed by
Jung shortly before his death, please get in touch. It appears that this
was an early attempt at theoretical mind-matter unification, and may be
of interest to us.