Dean Radin

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Dean Radin (/ˈrdɪn/; born February 29, 1952) is a researcher and author in the field of parapsychology.

He has been Senior Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), in Petaluma, California, USA, since 2001, and is on the Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Psychology at Sonoma State University, on the Distinguished Consulting Faculty at Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center, and former President of the Parapsychological Association.[1][2] He is also co-editor-in-chief of the journal Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing.[3]

Mainstream scientists have given Radin's books negative reviews, charging that he has ignored the known hoaxes in the field, made statistical errors and ignored plausible non-paranormal explanations for parapsychological data.[4][5]

Early life[edit]

Professionally, Radin worked as a concert violinist for five years, later switching to engineering after earning an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, as well as both a master's degree in electrical engineering and a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.[6]

Parapsychology[edit]

After his graduation, Radin worked at Bell Labs, and then conducted research at Princeton University, GTE Laboratories, University of Edinburgh, SRI International, Interval Research Corporation, and was a faculty member at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Radin was elected President of the Parapsychological Association in 1988, 1993, 1998, and 2005 and has published a number of articles and parapsychological papers supporting paranormal phenomena, as well as two books directed to a popular audience: The Conscious Universe and Entangled Minds.[7]

Radin believes that parapsychology is as repeatable as any science but that it is also, as paraphrased by sociologist Erich Goode, "elusive, subtle and complex" while "our understanding of it is incomplete" and "difficult to replicate".[8]:157 Considering that parapsychology is purely experimental, lacking any coherent theory, a lack of ability to reproduce results denotes a major hindrance to scientific acceptance.[8]:158 Radin has appealed to quantum mechanics as a mechanism.[8][a]

Radin and his colleagues have suggested that small-scale studies have produced a "genuine psychokinetic effect".[9] The studies have not been independently replicated.[10][11] Psychologists David B. Wilson and William R. Shadish have suggested that psychokinesis researchers such as Radin "need to go beyond statistics and explain how the mind might influence a computer, then test that prediction".[11]

Chris French criticized Radin for his selective historical overview of parapsychology and ignoring evidence of fraud. According to French, Radin failed to mention that the medium Florence Cook was caught in acts of trickery and two of the Fox sisters confessed to fraud.[12] Radin has claimed the results from psi research are as consistent by the same standards as any other scientific discipline but Ray Hyman has written many parapsychologists disagree with that opinion and openly admit the evidence for psi is "inconsistent, irreproducible, and fails to meet acceptable scientific standards".[13] Scientists have rejected Radin's paranormal claims. They suggest that he has embraced pseudoscience and that he misunderstands the nature of science.[14][8]:158[15]

The physicist Robert L. Park has written "No proof of psychic phenomena is ever found. In spite of all the tests devised by parapsychologists like Jahn and Radin, and huge amounts of data collected over a period of many years, the results are no more convincing today than when they began their experiments."[15] Steven Novella wrote that Radin's alleged positive results from parapsychological experiments have not been replicated by the scientific community.[16]

Books[edit]

Whilst Radin's books has been reviewed favorably by Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews,[17][18] reviews from scientists and skeptics have been generally negative.

The Conscious Universe[edit]

A critical review of The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena (1997)[19][b] was published by the British mathematician I. J. Good in Nature. Good wrote about flaws in Radin's method for evaluating the file-drawer effect. He stated that the book avoided to mention the evidence of fraud in parapsychology.[4] Radin replied to Good in a follow-up letter in the correspondence pages of Nature, saying that Good in his review had misinterpreted a reference to a probability value. Good replied, saying that most readers would not arrive at the same interpretation of what Radin had written noting that readers would be suprised to learn that by "more than a billion trillion", Radin meant more than 10100". Futher, Good noted that the file drawer effect does not account for intentional fraud, as was very probably the case with prominent ESP proponents such as Samuel Soal, nor is there any real means of estimating such "intellectual, observational or ethical lapses" within ESP.[20] In 2002, Victor J. Stenger made a criticism of the book reflecting Good's arguments, arguing that Radin did not perform the file-drawer analysis correctly, made fundamental errors in his calculations, and ignored non-paranormal explanations for the data.[5]

The book has been reviewed by the philosopher and skeptic Robert Todd Carroll.[21]

Supernormal[edit]

Radin's book Supernormal: Science, Yoga, and the Evidence for Extraordinary Psychic Abilities (2013), published by New-age guru Deepak Chopra, argues support for psychic phenomena and siddhis from yoga practices.[17][22] Radin has written that not all people experience paranormal phenomena or see ghosts because they block such signals due to the process of latent inhibition.[23] Publishers Weekly has reviewed it, saying of the book, that it is "unfocused and opaque at times" but "nevertheless an admirable attempt to bridge the gap between the scientific and the spiritual realm".[17] The anonymous review by Kirkus Reviews gave it a positive review saying "certainly not for everyone, but a smart reminder that we haven’t got the whole scene covered".[18]

Dale DeBakcsy, writing for the Skeptical Inquirer, reviewed Supernormal and commented that the work is "misrepresenting report data, lowering success criteria, and playing a somewhat loose game with how rigorously confidence information is presented". The first claim in relation to evidence is that Psi effects are present above chance to a probability of 1015 to 1, from a meta-analysis of Forced choice recognition in the parapsychological literature. The study reported that the results varied wildly with an extremely unusual standard deviation, such that they dropped 10% of the most extreme variations which reduced the effect size. Inexplicably, to DeBaksy, Radin kept the more suspect figure. Further in the book, Radin picks a test made at Princeton which claimed that:

"A rather strange yet persistent image of [the agent] inside a large bowl—a hemispheric indentation in the ground of some smooth man-made materials like concrete or cement. No color. Possibly covered with a glass dome. Unusual sense of inside/outside simultaneity. That’s all. It’s a large bowl. If it was full of soup [the agent] would be the size of a large dumpling!"

matched the location of "the radio telescope at Kitt Peak". This is despite there being several radio telescopes at Kitt Peak, such as the Very Long Baseline Array or the ARO 12m Radio Telescope, but even those do not match the description as given. DeBakcsy, commented that considering this is the best example out of 653 possible other tests made at Princeton, it is quite poor. Noting the spread of meta-analyses of the same studies (where the individual studies are weighted differently), have wildly varying odds returned (from trillions to one, to indistinguishable from chance), DeBaksy believes this undermines the reliance on meta-analysis in the work since they lack standardization.[24]

Other Books[edit]

  • Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality (2006)
  • Captain of My Ship, Master of My Soul: Living With Guidance (2001), with F. Holmes Atwater, Joseph McMoneagle, Skip Atwater

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ See also Quantum mysticism
  2. ^ In Great Britain this book is entitled The Noetic Universe.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Haraldsson, Erlendur. "History of the Parapsychological Association Presidents". Parapsychological Association. Retrieved January 30, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Institute Staff". Institute Of Noetic Sciences. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Explore Editorial board". Retrieved June 19, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Good, I. J. (1997). "Where has the billion trillion gone?". Nature 389 (2): 806–807. Bibcode:1997Natur.389..806G. doi:10.1038/39784.  edit
  5. ^ a b Stenger, Victor J. (2002). "Meta-Analysis and the Filedrawer Effect". Skeptical Inquirer. Volume 12. Retrieved October 24, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Author Listings: HarperCollins Publishers". Harpercollins.com. Retrieved 2014-07-12. 
  7. ^ "Dean Radin". Archived.parapsych.org. Retrieved 2014-07-12. 
  8. ^ a b c d Pigliucci, edited by Massimo; Boudry, Maarten (2013). Philosophy of pseudoscience : reconsidering the demarcation problem. Chicago [u.a.]: Univ. of Chicago Press. p. 157. ISBN 9780226051796. 
  9. ^ Radin, Dean; Nelson, Roger; Dobyns, York; Houtkopper, Joop (Jul 2006). "Reexamining psychokinesis: Comment on Bösch, Steinkamp, and Boller (2006)". APA PsycNet 132 (4): 529–532. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  10. ^ Wilson, David B.; Shadish, William R. (2006). On blowing trumpets to the tulips: To prove or not to prove the null hypothesis--Comment on Bösch, Steinkamp, and Boller (2006). Psychological Bulletin 132: 524-528.
  11. ^ a b "From Mind to Matter: Data analysis challenges psychokinesis". Science News. 2006-07-19. Retrieved 2014-07-12. 
  12. ^ French, Chris (2010). Missing the Point?. In Stanley Krippner, Harris L. Friedman. Debating Psychic Experience: Human Potential Or Human Illusion?. Praeger. ISBN 978-0313392610. Retrieved October 22, 2013.
  13. ^ Ray Hyman. "Anomalous Cognition? A Second Perspective - CSI". Csicop.org. Retrieved 2014-07-12. 
  14. ^ Smith, Jonathan (2009). Pseudoscience and Extraordinary Claims of the Paranormal: A Critical Thinker's Toolkit. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1405181228. Retrieved October 22, 2013.
  15. ^ a b Park, Robert (2000). Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud. Oxford University Press. pp. 196-200. ISBN 0-19-860443-2
  16. ^ "NeuroLogica Blog » Can Thinking Change Reality". Theness.com. Retrieved 2014-07-12. 
  17. ^ a b c "Nonfiction Book Review: Supernormal: Science, Yoga, and the Evidence for Extraordinary Psychic Abilities by Dean Radin. Crown/Deepak Chopra, $14 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-307-98690-0". Publishersweekly.com. Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  18. ^ a b Love, Robert (2013-07-16). "SUPERNORMAL by Dean Radin | Kirkus". Kirkusreviews.com. Retrieved 2014-07-24. 
  19. ^ Radin, Dean I. (2009). The conscious universe : the scientific truth of psychic phenomena (1st HarperCollins pbk. ed. ed.). New York: HarperOne. ISBN 0061778990. 
  20. ^ Radin, D.; Good, I. J. (1998). Nature 394 (6692): 413. doi:10.1038/28721.  edit
  21. ^ * Robert T. Carroll. "The Conscious Universe by Dean Radin - Book Review". Skeptic's Dictionary. Retrieved January 30, 2010. 
  22. ^ Miller, David Ian (2008-02-25). "Parapsychology researcher Dean Radin on ESP, spirituality, and how the consciousness of individuals is connected". SF Gate. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  23. ^ Blum, Deborah (2006). "Team won't give up the ghost". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Monday October 30. p. 26
  24. ^ * Dale DeBakcsy. "When Big Evidence Isn’t: The Statistical Pitfalls of Dean Radin’s Supernormal - CSI". Csicop.org. Retrieved 2014-07-12. 

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