Thursday, March 06, 2008

TinWiki and Remote Viewing Research

Archived from the former firedocs blog. 08 April 2006

I added the below text to the tinWiki (wiki wearing a tinfoil hat! hilarious!) that sponsors.

Since I figure any moment some bonehead will come along and delete it all and replace it with how Ed Dames is Keeper Of The Flame, I thought for posterity I'd copy it into my blog. Then if I ever need to refer to the info I won't have to retype it.

The world's largest online archive of peer-reviewed research papers regarding remote viewing (and many other topics paranormal, anomalous, and alternative) can be found at the LEXSCIEN Library of Exploratory Science, including half a century of journal archives and many other forms of media (newsletters, books, etc.) published by the Society for Psychical Research, but also including many other archives that involve remote viewing research.

The term "Remote Viewing" was officially coined in the science laboratory of the American Association for Psychical Research in December 1971, during experiments with researchers Dr. Karlis Osis, Dr. Janet Lee Mitchell, Dr. Gertrude Schmeidler, and experimental subject Ingo Swann. As a summary of the term's origin and use within a scientific research context,

Ingo Swann was later to write:
"Simply in order to be able to put a category of experiments on the pages of reports which were beginning to accumulate, I suggested the term "remote sensing" or "remote viewing" -- since a distant city was, after all, remote from the experimental lab in New York. Osis and Schmeidler, however, preferred the term "remote viewing," since it was viewing which was the object of study -- such as in out-of-body viewing. So the term "remote viewing" stuck -- and was later to be added into the English language and caused to represent a somewhat confusing number of formats."
Chapter 17 Remote Viewing The Real Story

The primary written documentation of that period is by Ingo Swann.

In the mid-1970's, research projects sponsored by various organizations in the U.S. government and intelligence communities had arrived with what the Director of Research felt was sufficient evidence to go forward with to the larger scientific community. In the first major publication of parapsychological research data (and which is thought by many to be behind the acceptance of the Parapsychological Association as an affiliate of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science)], physicist Dr. Harold Puthoff (Member, IEEE) and Lockheed physicist Russell Targ (Senior Member, IEEE) published the paper A Perceptual Channel for Information Transfer Over Kilometer Distances: Historical Perspective and Recent Research in the Proceedings of the IEEE Vol. 64 No. 3 March 1976 (they also presented at the annual IEEE convention).

The definition of remote viewing is not editable in this Wiki but should be. So I will include this research Wiki section (between the 70's and 90's if history is used as text sequence) the note that there is a great deal of debate about remote viewing's meaning as a term, in part because there are three primary things which are, depending on the context, used for definition: science protocol (which can include methodology, or not), methodological process (sometimes also called 'protocols' in and of themselves), and human psychic experience (which involves visually perceiving something which is remote, in the 'literal' definition of the term). A genuine understanding of Remote Viewing in a larger context requires at least comprehension of why there is such dispute (multiple authors in other Wikis invariably end up in editing-wars as a result of this). The most visible issues revolve around the following points:

  • From its origin in a science lab the term has been afforded by many science researchers the assumption of meaning at least in part, "A free response psychic functioning experiment, referred to as Remote Viewing rather than 'ESP' by nature of its having been performed within an approved Remote Viewing science protocol." (It has been referred to as this in peer-reviewed published research papers.) Laymen are not always aware that scientific protocol in any field "evolves" as science itself learns and evolves, so what constituted an appropriate Remote Viewing protocol in 1971 is not the same as what was considered legitimate in 1981 or 1991 or presently. The science origin of the term however, resulted in most parapsychology-based scientists considering "Remote Viewing" a term that referred not just to psi but to psi-within-science.

  • The term was coined, at origin, in response to experiments that focused on the psychic "projecting out of body," the primary goal of the subject (Ingo Swann) employed for the studies (and the description he uses for his personal methodology in multiple writings). This method/concept is not usually present (or certainly not required) with remote viewing research since that time. However this resulted in many laymen considering it a term that describes projecting one's awareness out of body.

  • In a more casual interpretation, laymen in the media have often considered any form of "visually perceiving something non-local" to qualify for the remote-viewing term, leaving out all issues of "deliberate intention" as well as "scientific experiment." This is technically accurate if using a literal interpretation of the words, but is not what those who coined the term intended. (One might say that this would all be vastly simpler if a little more thought had gone into defining the term (or a different term) clearly at the time. In the research field, some refer to remote viewing as "Anomalous Cognition.")

  • In the decade+ following the RV term's coining, thousands of people participated in remote viewing experiments around the world, using a wide variety of 'methodologies'. In the 1980's, Ingo Swann led an experiment to create "psychic methods" which might help train individuals to better (or faster) accurately perceive and communicate psi-based data. Historically, this is probably the point which later caused the most public confusion: Swann called these methods a type of remote viewing, and taught the methods to several former intelligence personnel, who post-military retirement have done extensive media-marketing and public-work during sales of the methods, which have generally been understood by the public to be sold "as" "Remote Viewing". However, that methodology is nothing like what Swann himself used when doing the initial RV work. Nor is it anything like what people around the world had used for over a decade while participating in legitimate Remote Viewing experiments and process. (Including the initial "Remote Viewers" in the U.S. Government STAR GATE program itself.) So it isn't reasonable to define it by a methodology, either. (And if it were, it would not be by Swann's later methods, but the one he used during the initial experiments.)

  • The points above have led to much confusion about whether the term refers to a science protocol, a psychic experience, or a systematic "methodology" bearing the RV label.

  • This has bearing on the 'meaning' provided in this original wiki entry: the remote viewing "protocol" (a set-of-rules in a science sense) exists to ensure that "no known form of information transfer could have accounted for the source of the information provided." (It could be guessing, imagination, or other things, but all of those things would be sourced from within the individual. It could NOT be physical data-transfer from another source.) Without being able to clearly "rule out" (by use of situational controls) non-psychic forms of data transfer, one can never legitimately know the data is sourced from psi. This means that performing psychic work in any methodology (even one "called" RV), and having the personal experience ("seeming to perceive something non-local"), cannot fairly be assigned the term "Remote Viewing" without the protocol which "legitimizes" the process: if performed within protocol, the result is not just imagination, fraud, accident, etc., but if accurate at above-chance/guess, is displaying some unknown 'effect' which we choose to call psi. (For lack of a better term perhaps. Dr. Ray Hyman in the 1995 AIR report agreed that there was some form of "effect" but said "he did not choose to call it psi.") It is not that a process "could not" be psychic without being performed within protocol; it is that it most certainly (at the least) is "also" something else that is not psychic, if done outside it. This has been well demonstrated for decades in science. If the data is not psychically sourced, then it certainly isn't remote viewing at all. So we come back to the issue that RV may be a psychic experience (definitely), and it may be a methodology (highly questionable, but it certainly can include this), but neither of the first two are really legitimate without the protocol (which is actually science, not psi).

The paper Replication and Meta-Analysis in Parapsychology was published by Statistician Dr. Jessica Utts in the journal Statistical Science, 1991, Vol. 6., No. 4, 363-403. In this paper outlining a meta-analysis done for parapsychology (some of the primary research reviewed was Ganzfeld Remote Viewing trials), Dr. Utts demonstrated that statistically, parapsychology not only had shown the same or better results as more and better scientific controls had been applied over time, but statistically had outperformed medical experiments, one famous example of which had been considered to have such an effect that the study was canceled out of concern for the control-group being unfairly threatened by the withholding of the medication under study.

Dr. Utts wrote:
The recent focus on meta-analysis in parapsychology has revealed that there are small but consistently nonzero effects across studies, experimenters and laboratories. The sizes of the effects in forced-choice studies appear to be comparable to those reported in some medical studies that had been heralded as breakthroughs. [...] Free-response studies show effect sizes of far greater magnitude.

One result of this publication was a noticeable shift in parapsychology science from proof-oriented studies to process-oriented studies.

The Laboratories for Fundamental Research and Cognitive Sciences Laboratory was responsible for the majority of the U.S. Government funded research done within many projects between 1970 and 1995, a number of which are now cumulatively referred to under the umbrella title "The STAR GATE Program". There were two Directors during the program's tenure: Dr. Harold Puthoff, physicist, and Dr. Edwin May, physicist. Other researchers known publicly but involved in less glorious roles or more limited terms include Dr. Keith Harary, Russell Targ, Dr. Dean Radin, and Dr. Charles Tart. Since 1995 when the official program was transferred from the DIA (to which it had been moved in 1986) to the CIA, and was then closed by the CIA a few months later, CSL has remained the most active funded research entity in the parapsychology field. Recent and current peer-review papers from CSL and its researchers can be found at the online CSL Library and the library of former CSL researcher James Spottiswoode.

The current primary research focus of the CSL is in two areas: psychophysiological measurement of precognition, which they call "Prestimulus Response", and the further statistical examination of what psychologist Robert Rosenthal (a pioneer of the use of Meta-Analysis in the field of Psychology) dubbed "The Experimenter Effect," which has had many research papers on it since the 1960's at least, including some in the parapsychology field such as by Rhea White). Research papers on the parapsychology studies which appear to relate to Rosenthal's work usually bear the acronym DAT or the term Decision Augmentation Theory.

In 1995 the U.S. "psychic program" now referred to as STAR GATE was transferred to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The CIA commissioned the American Institute for Research (AIR) to create what is now called The AIR Report, presented in the format of a presentation by Dr. Jessica Utts An Assessment of the Evidence for Psychic Functioning, followed by a report by Dr. Ray Hyman Evaluation of Program on Anomalous Mental Phenomena, and then a response to Dr. Hyman's report by Dr. Utts Response to Ray Hyman's Report. Directly related to this report were two other articles written by members of the STAR GATE program (these were articles "about" the report itself). One was a four-part report written by former STAR GATE member Paul Smith (Major, ret.), sections: Bologna on Wry Bread, A Second Helping, Scraps and Crumbs, Addendums and Corrections. Also, the STAR GATE Research Director at the time of the report wrote an article responding to it The AIR Review of the Department of Defense STAR GATE Program. A Commentary. (by Dr. Edwin C. May).

Those were just the tidbits I felt oughtta be in any wiki entry for remote viewing research. - P

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